Today’s Google Doodle honors Gilbert Baker, who designed the rainbow flag. His birthday was June 2nd, and he would be 66-years-old today.
The Doodle uses the original 8-color rainbow flag, designed in 1978 for San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day Parade. It took over 30 people to hand-dye and stitch the fabrics together for two flags that flew in that parade.
The colors were all symbolic, since so many gay people in the late 70’s were hippies. According to Baker, hot pink stood for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for the sun, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for spirit.
In reproductions of the flag produced later that year, hot pink was dropped because that color wasn’t commercially available. Turquoise and indigo were rolled together into blue so that the flag could be split in two and hung vertically from street lights for the 1979 Gay Freedom Day Parade.
Baker, though, didn’t claim sole credit in designing the flag. “A true flag is not something you can really design. A true flag is torn from the soul of the people. A flag is something that everyone owns and that’s why they work.”