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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Speedy Geek : The Gay Pride Flag

  This flag (seen at the Church St. community Centre in Toronto in this instance) has been well recognized around the world as a symbol of LGBT pride and adopted by peaceloving folks as well as a sign of equality and solidarity. The design has been unchanged for around 30 years and is always flown right stripe up, as in the colours of a natural rainbow.

But it didn't always look this way.  When Gilbert Baker, a friend of Harvey Milk, designed it in 1978 it looked like this.

Each of the colours did then and have specific meanings, from top-to-bottom as follows:

Hot pink : sex
Red : life
Orange: healing
Yellow: Sunlight
Green: Nature
Turquoise: Magic and the arts
Indigo Blue: Serenity
Violet : spirit

  After Harvey Milk and George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White (who himself died on this day 25 years ago), demand for the flag increased. According to Mr. Baker, they ran out of pink dye, so the pink stripe disappeared. The next year the turquoise was omitted to make the flag symmetrical.

   The design was inspired by the Flag of the Races and it's designer is alive and living in San Fransisco where he is an artist. He has been commissioned to design flags since, creating the World's largest 6 and 8 stripe Pride flags. The one he designed for the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riots held the Guinness Record for largest flag of any kind. (As of 10/10/2010, a Lebanese flag holds the honour)

  So in 5 minutes you've discovered a little bit about the flag flown in many variations in many places and know why everyone wore purple for yesterday's Spirit Day.

 Never be afraid to let your own flag fly.

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