This month is Gay Pride Month in the U.S. and Boston, MA is a huge epicenter for celebration, which is why all around the streets of Boston you can see rainbow flags flying on houses and professional buildings alike. This flag has been used as symbol supporting the LGBT community since it was first revealed on June 25th, 1978 at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade. The original design was created by Gilbert Baker, a San Francisco artist who created it in response to a need for a community symbol and was encouraged by Harvey Milk (the nation’s first openly gay politician to be elected into office).
The original flag had eight colored stripes in its design, with each color holding a different meaning. Hot pink represented sexuality, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for spirit.
In 1979, hot pink colored fabric was unavailable for mass production, leading to the creation of a seven-stripe version of the flag. And later on Baker suggested the removal of turquoise, as well as the change from indigo to royal blue, which has lead to the flag’s current design consisting of six stripes of color: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.
Some say Baker’s design was inspired by Judy Garland’s song “Over the Rainbow,” as she was one of the first gay icons in America, while others claim that it originated as a flag to signify world peace based on flags flown during the hippie movement in the 60s.
Despite its changes over the years, the rainbow flag has solidified its place in history as a symbol for the LGBT community and for equality.So, if you’re planning on flying the flag this month and are unsure which direction the colors should go, Baker himself has said that there is no “right-side up” and it may be flown with either the red or violet stripe on top. Happy Pride Month!