Thank You For The Rainbows

Gilbert Baker, creator of the rainbow flag as an LGBT symbol, died yesterday. He was 65.

The flag as invented in 1978 had 8 colours: this was reduced to six when the cost of the fabric in the pink stripe became too expensive, and then indigo was lost as a balancing change so that when the flag was hung from a central pole, no colour was obscured. The eight-stripe original was first raised at San Francisco Pride on 25th June 1978.

In the process this ironically removed sexuality and harmony from the message of the flag, as each colour was meant to symbolise something:

Pink – sexuality
Red – life
Orange – healing
Yellow- sunlight
Green – nature
Turquoise – art (turquoise was later replaced with blue)
Indigo – harmony
Violet – human spirit

The bi flag was created later in 1998 by Michael Page. Like the rainbow flag helped transform gay visibility, the bi flag has given a pink, purple and blue signal of bisexuality.