Sunday 2 April 2017

Tribute to Gilbert Baker

It is with a very sad heart that I add my tribute to the many others that have been made following the announcement of the death of Gilbert Baker (pictured above)  last Thursday night at the age of 65. His may not be a name which is immediately recognisable but he has he has left a legacy to the world that surpasses that of any other lgbt campaigner.

Gilbert was at the very heart of the gay rights movements in the 1970s and I wrote about the history of the Rainbow Pride flag which he created here.

It cannot be stated often enough that in creating the original rainbow flag Gilbert Baker is responsible for the producing the ONLY international flag used by one community in EVERY SINGLE NATION ON EARTH. There is no country on Earth that has not recognised its symbolism. In a very few nations it is even recognised by law. There has also no country where it has not been waved. Think about this for a second. Think of the city, town, village or place where you live. What other community group has adopted a flag that is also used by the same group on the opposite side of the globe. From the North Pole to the South Pole, and all around the Equator to the top of Mount Everest the rainbow flag has been produced as a symbol of the solidarity and determination of the lgbt community to be treated without prejudice and anger.

Gilbert’s flag has made it into the records books several times. At the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York in 1994 and at the 25th anniversary of the rainbow flag itself in Florida it became the longest flag in the world.

The colours and stripes have inspired hundreds of thousands of other flags as well as logos and designs for everything from Pride events to underwear, and from charity organisations to dog toys.

The rainbow has become synonymous with the lgbt community. Before that there was only the Pink Triangle that was a legacy of the Nazi persecution. What Gilbert Baker gave to the world is a symbol of joy, pride and promise.

Thank you Gilbert Baker for giving my community a unifying identity. Below are some photos of the flag from the last 39 years.

Gilbert Baker unfurling the very first Rainbow Pride flag
on 25th June 1978.
The first official appearance of the flag outside
San Francisco at the March on Washington for
Gay Rights on 14th October 1979

The longest flag in the world - 15th June 2003
Near the summit of Mount Everest - Cason Crane with the flag
he took to the top of the world on 20th May 2013.
One of the many occasion the Rainbow Pride flag has been
flown from Nottingham Council House (not always
upside down as it was on this occasion).

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