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Gilbert Baker, creator of rainbow flag gay rights symbol, dies aged 65

04 April 2017, 02:39 | Max Haynes

Gilbert Baker, creator of rainbow flag gay rights symbol, dies aged 65

Gilbert Baker, creator of rainbow flag gay rights symbol, dies aged 65

Baker was 65 and died in his sleep at his New York City home.

Tributes have poured in from across the globe for Baker - who died aged 65 in NY - with many sharing touching messages describing how the artist changed their lives.

Mr. Jones urged San Francisco friends to gather for an evening vigil under a rainbow flag in the city's Castro district.

Born in Kansas, Baker arrived in San Francisco in 1970 while serving as a medic in the USA army, where his work with injured Vietnam veterans spurred his lifelong anti-war activism. Gilbert Baker says that pink material cost too much so it was dropped and he combined turquoise and blue to create royal blue.

Soon he began sewing flags for gay and antiwar street marches. The flag debuted at that summer's San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade, he said. That same year, Milk was elected to office but assassinated a short time later.

This PBS documentary also features Baker talking about the flag design.

"Pink is for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sun", Baker told ABC7.

The flag was initially eight colors, but it was cut to six because of the limited availability of fabrics, Jones said. "It's a magical part of nature". "Our world is far less colorful without you, my love". Our sexuality is all of the colors.

Gilbert Baker, who created the iconic LGBT rainbow flag, has died at age 65.

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"A true flag is not something you can really design". Baker agreed to drop pink and turquoise largely because they were hard to reproduce. Milk paid Baker $1,000 for his work, according to KGO.

Dianne Feinstein, now a US senator, saw them and commissioned him to design flags for her first inaugural as mayor. "Gilbert Baker gave the world the Rainbow Flag", he wrote.

He became so well known as a flag designer in San Francisco, he was commissioned to design displays for the 1984 Democratic National Convention. Baker designed the iconic symbol of the gay pride movement in 1978.

"I think the rainbow flag will survive forever, primarily because it's the ideal flag, regardless of whatever political meaning it may have or evolve to".

Just days prior to his death, Baker had completed his last rainbow flag.

He later moved to NY in 1994 and created a mile-long rainbow flag for the gay pride parade, which that year commemorated the 25th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall uprising. "One of the most compassionate people", Jones said.

This compromise, however, allowed for an easily reproducible flag.

"I think the Rainbow Flag will survive forever, primarily because it's the flawless flag, regardless of whatever political meaning it may have or evolve to".

In 2008, Baker returned to San Francisco to recreate his original banners from the 70's for the Academy Award winning film "Milk", CBS Chicago reported. Carried by 5000 people, it broke the world record for the largest flag. He worked alongside his lifelong friend Harvey Milk, the San Francisco City Supervisor who was murdered with Mayor George Moscone on Nov 27, 1978.



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