With pride months growing in popularity all over the world, the sight of the rainbow flag is becoming ever more present in today’s society.
Gilbert didn’t have the idea create the flag right away, from 1970-1972 he was busy serving in the US Army, stationed in San Fransisco. After his honorable discharge, he began to teach himself how to sew and quickly put his new skill to use by making banners for anti-war and gay rights protests. In 1974 he met and became close friends with Harvey Milk, the cities first openly gay elected official.
In 1979 the flag was changed again. When it was hung vertically from the lamp posts on Market Street, the center stripe became totally hidden. Changing the design to an even six stripes was an easy way to fix this. The turquoise stripe was dropped, leaving us with the famous six stripped flag that we see today. Baker refers to this flag as the “commercial version”, because it came to be due to production demands. For the 1979 Freedom Day Parade, they were now able to split the colors onto two flags, flying them on alternate sides of the street.
Baker went on to design many other flags for events like The Superbowl, Democratic National Convention, and for Presidents and Kings of other countries. In 1994 Baker was called upon to create the world’s largest rainbow flag for the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. This was recreated in Key West in 2003, with all original eight stripes and stretched a mile and a quarter.