Bringing Back A Little History For Pride Month

So, we are running a little late here at STR. We do hope you will forgive us, as we only really started this venture just this month!

But as it IS pride month, STR has decided that the best way to celebrate as we work hard to get the site up and running is to stick to the basics and bring back just a little bit of history for you all to enjoy.

Did you know the Rainbow Pride Flag that you fly today is NOT the flag as it was originally designed?

That’s right everyone, our beloved gay pride flag has been altered over time. But such is often the case with so many things in our lives, and that doesn’t mean we should let the iconic original fade into history forgotten.

The original pride flag was the brainchild of one Mr. Gilbert Baker, an openly gay activist and ex-army man (leave it to a military man to find a flag to serve under! All those puns intended). Mr. Baker spent the seventies hobnobbing with the gay leaders of his day, and eventually one of them, Harvey Milk, challenged him to create a new symbol of pride just for the gay community.

It took a bit of time, a Hippie movement, some influence by another pioneering gay activist (Allen Ginsberg), and 30 volunteers to do a lot of hand-dying and stitching, but of course Mr. Baker found the perfect symbol, and on June 25, 1978, the first and second Gay Pride Flag or Rainbow Flag (depending on who you ask) to ever exist flew over the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade (if anyone knows which parade this became in current time, please let us know, we would love to link to them!)

Mr. Baker chose his colors carefully, and he ascribed each color with a specific meaning, and in the end, we got the 8 color flag with the meanings he chose:

  • Hot Pink – Sex
  • Red – Life
  • Orange – Healing
  • Yellow – Sunlight
  • Green – Nature
  • Turquoise – Art & Magic
  • Indigo – Serenity
  • Violet – Human Spirit

Mr. Baker is said to have chosen the rainbow because it inherently included all possibilities in the light spectrum, which translated to include all possibilities in the human spectrum as well when used as a symbol.

Alas, as with all new things in the world, change came very soon for the new symbol. 

After the assassination of Harvey Milk in November of that same year, the demand for Rainbow flags skyrocketed. Mr. Baker soon found he had no way to procure or produce enough hot pink fabric to keep up with demands for the flag and was forced to remove that stripe from his flag in order to fill the needs of the community.

Then, in 1979, the flag was modified again when it was found that hanging the flag vertically from the lamp posts of Market Street in San Francisco the center stripe was entirely obscured. The only remedy to an obscured color was reducing the colors once again and make the number of stripes even. So the turquoise stripe was chosen and dropped, leaving us with a six stripe version we are all so familiar with, and of course the many variations that have taken off from that design over the years.

But let us never forget the flag that started it all, that rallied a community and eventually a nation. 

If you would like to find a way to include the original 8 color Rainbow Flag into your home or event, check out our shop’s Original Pride page. New items will be added throughout the month and whenever we find awesome new products to offer to you!