A Brief Lesson on the History of the Rainbow Flag


I was talking with a few lgbt students last week in the Bear’s Den and I was surprised to hear that they didn’t know about where the rainbow flag came from or its significance.  As an old timer I shared what I knew with the students. Surprisingly they were interested and did give me that look that some 18-22 year olds gives their parents when they are bored or uninterested. As we move in to the season of celebrating pride especially the BSU Annual Rainbow Keynote later this month, I thought it was fitting to also share this brief “history lesson” with my Student Affairs colleagues.

The rainbow flag was first used to symbolize gay pride and diversity by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker and the original was hand-dyed. It first flew in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade on June 25, 1978. The flag consisted of eight stripes and Baker assigned specific meaning to each of the colors: hot pink = sex, red = life, orange = healing, yellow = sunlight, green = nature, turquoise = magic, blue = serenity, violet = spirit.

The flag currently consists of six colored stripes of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. It is most commonly flown with the red stripe on top, as the colors appear in a natural rainbow. The rainbow flag, sometimes called the freedom flag, has been used as a symbol of gay pride and gay rights since the 1980s.

 Mark Your Calendars:

March 31, 2015, 11:00 am to 12:15 pm
BSU Rainbow Keynote
RSVP at http://tinyurl.com/rainbow15


Brian Salvaggio is the Assistant Vice President for the Division of Student Affairs

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