Clarified: Evolution of the pride flag

Project CommUNITY is an ongoing initiative across Hearst Television to put a spotlight on diverse voices in our communities. The initiative is built around regular coverage of people who are working to make a difference and stories detailing the history of the battle for civil rights, inclusion and social change across America.The pride flag is an easily recognizable symbol today. But it didn’t always exist. To tell the story of the Pride Flag we have to go back to 1978. It was then in San Francisco when openly gay politician Harvey Milk commissioned artist Gilbert Baker to create a symbol of visibility and pride for members of the gay community. Milk who had become an outspoken leader in the gay community through his camera shop and brave political campaigns helped ignite the movement for gay rights. Milk and Baker wanted to create a flag that unapologetically proclaimed “this is who I am.” Inspired by the colors of the rainbow, Baker assigned a meaning to each color. Pink for sexuality, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for magic/art, indigo for harmony, violet for spirit. And the first pride flag flew on June 25, 1978. Milk was assassinated in November of that year. Fearing that he would be killed, Milk recorded a tape in which he said: “If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.”The night of his assassination, his nephew Stuart Milk, came out of that closet and since then has continued Harvey’s fight for gay rights. Milk’s legacy lives on through the pride flag, which over the years has greatly evolved.In 1979, Pink was dropped due to the difficulty of finding the fabric. Turquoise was also eliminated leaving the flag with six stripes, so that the flag could be evenly split in half for a march in response to Milk’s death. The six-color flag become the most common flag worldwide.In 2017, the flag added black and brown stripes. The stripes represent the contributions of people of color and was unveiled at the Philadelphia Pride parade that year.In 2019, Artist Daniel Quasar launched a Kickstarter for his design, known as the progress pride flag. He wanted to deepen the meaning by including white, blue and pink stripes that represented the trans community.In 2020, the queer people of color flag was created to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. It grew in popularity in 2020 because of the notion that there is a considerable overlap of those in both communities.In 2021, Valentino Vecchietti designed the intersex-inclusive progress pride flag to include intersex people.Over time, the pride flag has branched off into other flags, giving visibility to specific identities within the community. In this episode of Clarified, you’ll learn the meaning of those different pride flags and how they are impacting the LGBTQ community. Throughout Pride Month, Clarified will explore the experiences and impact of LGBTQ people.

Project CommUNITY is an ongoing initiative across Hearst Television to put a spotlight on diverse voices in our communities. The initiative is built around regular coverage of people who are working to make a difference and stories detailing the history of the battle for civil rights, inclusion and social change across America.

The pride flag is an easily recognizable symbol today. But it didn’t always exist. To tell the story of the Pride Flag we have to go back to 1978.

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It was then in San Francisco when openly gay politician Harvey Milk commissioned artist Gilbert Baker to create a symbol of visibility and pride for members of the gay community. Milk who had become an outspoken leader in the gay community through his camera shop and brave political campaigns helped ignite the movement for gay rights.

Milk and Baker wanted to create a flag that unapologetically proclaimed “this is who I am.” Inspired by the colors of the rainbow, Baker assigned a meaning to each color. Pink for sexuality, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for magic/art, indigo for harmony, violet for spirit. And the first pride flag flew on June 25, 1978.

Milk was assassinated in November of that year. Fearing that he would be killed, Milk recorded a tape in which he said: “If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.”

The night of his assassination, his nephew Stuart Milk, came out of that closet and since then has continued Harvey’s fight for gay rights.

Milk’s legacy lives on through the pride flag, which over the years has greatly evolved.

In 1979, Pink was dropped due to the difficulty of finding the fabric. Turquoise was also eliminated leaving the flag with six stripes, so that the flag could be evenly split in half for a march in response to Milk’s death. The six-color flag become the most common flag worldwide.

In 2017, the flag added black and brown stripes. The stripes represent the contributions of people of color and was unveiled at the Philadelphia Pride parade that year.

In 2019, Artist Daniel Quasar launched a Kickstarter for his design, known as the progress pride flag. He wanted to deepen the meaning by including white, blue and pink stripes that represented the trans community.

In 2020, the queer people of color flag was created to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. It grew in popularity in 2020 because of the notion that there is a considerable overlap of those in both communities.

In 2021, Valentino Vecchietti designed the intersex-inclusive progress pride flag to include intersex people.

Over time, the pride flag has branched off into other flags, giving visibility to specific identities within the community.

In this episode of Clarified, you’ll learn the meaning of those different pride flags and how they are impacting the LGBTQ community.


Throughout Pride Month, Clarified will explore the experiences and impact of LGBTQ people.

Contributed by local news sources

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