The Making Of
Commissioned by Harvey Milk and created in San Francisco by queer artist and activist Gilbert Baker, the Pride Flag debuted at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade on June 25, 1978, as a symbol of pride for the community. Over 30 volunteers hand-dyed and stitched together what would become an enduring symbol of pride, hope, and solidarity.The first flag was originally comprised of 8 stripes, with a specific meaning tied to each color.
The Modern Flag
After Harvey Milk’s assassination on November 27, 1978, demand for the rainbow flag skyrocketed. To meet demand, a modified version of the flag without the hard-to-source hot-pink stripe began to be sold.In 1979, the turquoise stripe was dropped as well, leaving the version of the Pride Flag we see today. Six stripes – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.
In 1994, for the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, Baker was commissioned to create the world’s largest rainbow flag. The flag utilized the six standard colors and measured 30 feet wide. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, this was the largest flag in the world.
25 Rainbow Sea to Sea
In 2003, Baker was commissioned yet again. This time, the commission is to create a flag to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the flag’s creation. The project, “25 Rainbow Sea to Sea,” utilized the original eight colors and measured a mile and a quarter across Key West, FL from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf Coast Sea. After the demonstration, the flag was cut up, and sections were sent to hundreds of cities worldwide.