The Rainbow Flag made its first appearance in the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade in 1978. Its symbolism was borrowed from the hippie and black civil rights movements. Artist Gilbert Baker from San Francisco, created the flag as a symbol that could be used year after year.
Along with about 30 volunteers, two gigantic prototype of the flag were hand-stitched and hand-dyed. The original flag had eight stripes, with each color representing a particular component of the gay community: hot pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sun, green for nature, turquoise for the arts, indigo for harmony, and violet for spirit.
Original 8 colour version
7 colour version
Wishing to demonstrate the gay community�s solidarity in response to this tragedy, the 1979 Pride Parade Committee decided to use Baker�s flag in honor of Milk. The committee eliminated the turquoise stripe so they could divide the colors evenly as they walked the parade route, three colors on one side of the street and three on the other.
This updated six-color version of the rainbow flag quickly spread from San Francisco to other cities. Soon, it was universally known and accepted as a symbol of gay pride and diversity. And it is recognized officially by the International Congress of Flag Makers as such.
Orange = Healing
Yellow = Sun / Sunlight
Green = Nature
Blue = Harmony / Serenity
Violet = Spirit