Gilbert Baker and the Rainbow Flag

The designer of the LGBTQIA rainbow flag, Gilbert Baker, died recently, on 31 March 2017. He was a former solider who moved to San Francisco in the 1970s, at the beginning of the gay rights movement.

Baker was a drag queen who sewed dresses and flags for the anti-war movement. In 1978, he created the iconic LGBTQIA flag. Encouraged by openly gay San Francisco supervisor and gay rights activist Harvey Milk, Baker designed the rainbow flag. Milk rode in the Gay Freedom Parade in 1978 under rainbow flags sewn by Baker.

The flag, which initially had two extra colours, ended up with six stripes of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and the greatest colour in the world, purple. Baker continued to make and exhibit his art, including various celebrations of the pride symbol. Baker died a legend, aged 65 years.

[Photo: the rainbow flag hangs in central Sydney, as people walk through a busy mall.]