THE RAINBOW FLAG OF THE QUEER COMMUNITY
“A true flag cannot be designed — it has to be torn from the soul of the people.” – Unknown
Happy Pride Month!
June has been recognized as the pride month in honour of the Stonewall Riots which took place in New York in June 1969. During this month, people display the rainbow flag proudly as a symbol of the LGBTQ rights movement.
We all identify the rainbow flag as the representation of the queer community worldwide. Ever wondered why?
The story begins with an artist, activist, and drag queen, Gilbert Baker. In 1970, he came to San Francisco as an army draftee where he wanted to pursue his dream of being an artist. He learned to sue and made all the 70s clothes that he wanted to but couldn’t buy.
In 1974, Baker met Harvey Milk who changed his life forever. After 3 years of their meeting, Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, making him the first openly gay person to hold a high public office in the US. Milk urged Baker to come up with the symbol of the pride community. He wanted to have a positive alternative to the “pink triangle” which was once imposed by the Nazis. In Nazi Germany, a downward-pointing pink triangle was sewn onto the shirts of gay men in concentration camps—to identify and further dehumanize them.
Baker decides to make the symbol in the form of a flag because he believed that flags were the most powerful symbol of pride. Baker said this in an interview, “Our job as gay people was to come out, to be visible, to live in the truth, as I say, to get out of the lie. A flag fit that mission because that’s a way of proclaiming your visibility or saying, ‘This is who I am!’”
He borrowed symbolism from the civil rights and hippie movements and rainbow as a natural flag from the sky. With the help of 30 volunteers, he dyed and stitched together 8 strips of brilliant colours that spoke volumes!
Each colour had its meaning: Hot Pink stood for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for the sun, green for nature, turquoise blue for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for spirit.
The original versions of the rainbow flag were flown on June 25, 1978, for the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day parade.
“When it went up and the wind finally took it out of my hands, it blew my mind. I saw immediately how everyone around me owned the flag. I thought its better than I ever dreamed.” – Gilbert Baker (1951 – 2017)
In November 1978, Harvey Milk was assassinated. The protests increased and so did the demand for the rainbow flag. Due to the production issues, the hot pink and turquoise stripes were removed and indigo was replaced by blue that resulted in the contemporary 6-striped flag (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet) which is known worldwide today and is used as the universal flag to symbolize the Pride Community.
In 1994, for the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, baker created a 1.25-mile long flag with all 8 colours.
In addition to the iconic rainbow Pride flag, several other flags with different symbols and colour combinations exist to celebrate various gender identities and orientations under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella, including gay pride flag, lesbian pride flag, bisexual pride flag, transgender flag, pansexual pride flag, intersex pride flag, asexual pride flag among others.
LOVE, a four-lettered word, blankets the entirety of humankind. Love is hot pink, red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, indigo, and violet. Love can be for yourself, for others, for nature, or the world. Love is a four-lettered word that holds immense power. Love gave birth to acceptance. Love gave birth to tolerance.
Love gave birth to PRIDE.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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