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“Save The Rainbow Flag” Our Call to Action

Prior to 1978, there had been no unifying symbol for the ever growing ever more visible LGBT Community.  San Francisco city supervisor, Harvey Milk and Gay rights activist, Cleve Jones, approached Gilbert Baker about creating a potential symbol.

(Gilbert Baker: photo via Gilbert Baker Foundation website

Born June 2, 1951, Gilbert Baker was an honorably discharged army veteran, who became an activist and vexillographer designing flags and banners for various causes around the world including anti-Vietnam protests.

“What I liked about the rainbow
is that it fits all of us.
It’s all the colors.
It represents all the genders.
It represents all the races.
It’s the rainbow of humanity.”

– Gilbert Baker


The hand-dyed Pride Flag first raised over United Nations Plaza on June 25, 1978, looked much different with its eight stripes and a field of stars.  Met with overwhelming enthusiasm and demand for the new flag, mass production necessitated simplification to a six-stripe design which would go one to become the symbol of the largest civil rights movement around the world.

(In 2016 then President Obama invited Gilbert Baker to The White House Pride Month reception at which he presented the President with a hand dyed rainbow flag.)

Forty-five years later, our Pride Flag is under attack by right-wing conservatives who are enacting laws banning it from being displayed in public spaces and schools.  They argue if Confederate and NAZI flags are forbidden from being flown, then the Pride Flag a group they find aberrant should be banned as well.  Sadly it’s working and is part of their ever growing effort to minimize and erase the LGBTQ+ Community wherever possible.

Related post: “From SoCal to NY, Cities Across the Country Are Banning the Rainbow Flag”

Earlier this year The Gilbert Baker Foundation  and the ACLU  joined forces to fight back against the rising tide of Pride Flag bans and launched “Save The Rainbow Flag”  

Map of Rainbow Flag Bans via Gilbert Baker Foundation website)

Save The Rainbow Flag is a grassroots community-based activism marshalling the expertise of both organizations into a downloadable toolkit with a “how to” statements, letters to elected officials, and artwork.

From the website:

“Save the Rainbow Flag” provides First Amendment and LGBTQ+ rights supporters with tools to challenge this alarming censorship trend. This website provides concerned citizens will fact sheets and tactics for how to challenge these homophobic efforts on the local level, through community hearings, media interviews, petitioning, and by mobilizing neighbors…

The centerpiece of the Save the Rainbow Flag tool kit is an Open Letter from the American Civil Liberties Union, citing legal precedents on why banning the Rainbow Flag goes against existing laws. The Save the Rainbow Flag tool kit includes a draft letter to local officials, sample letter to the editor, and other information to support community advocates fighting flag bans locally.”

Save The Rainbow Flag Toolkit HERE 

In five decades, the Rainbow Flag has become the most visible and recognized symbol of our Community around the world.  Gilbert Baker never copyrighted the flag he created because he wanted to remain in the public as his gift to each of us.  Now powerful forces of bigotry and homophobia who hate us are tearing it down and want to tear our flag from us.

If a foreign government was tearing down the American flag, we’d fight back with a furor. Right now our government is tearing down the Pride Flag and trampling on our Freedom of Speech, so why aren’t fighting back just as hard?

Donate to The Gilbert Baker Foundation HERE




Read our previous Pride Month 2022 posts:

“Pride 2023 – Proud Out Loud and Fighting Back” 

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