SAN FRANCISCO — The rainbow flag, more commonly known as the LGBT pride flag or gay pride flag, turns 35 today.
The flag, a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender pride and the LGBT rights movement, has been in use since its debut at San Francisco Pride on June 25, 1978, and was designed by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker.
The different colors symbolize diversity in the gay community, and the flag is used predominantly at gay pride events and in gay villages worldwide in various forms.
Originally created with eight colors, pink and turquoise were removed for production purposes and as of 1979, the pride flag consists of six colored stripes.
It is most commonly flown with the red stripe on top, as the colors appear in a natural rainbow. Aside from the symbolism of a diverse LGBT community, the colors were selected to symbolize: red (life), orange (healing), yellow (sunlight), green (nature), blue (harmony), and purple/violet (spirit).
The removed colors stood for sexuality (pink) and art/magic (turquoise).
The rainbow flag has found widespread application on all manner of products including jewelry, clothing and other personal items and the rainbow flag colors are routinely used as a show of LGBT identity and solidarity.