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50 years in 50 weeks: 2018 Rainbow flag co-creator goes public

by BAR staff

Photo: Courtesy B.A.R. Archives
Photo: Courtesy B.A.R. Archives  

A year after the death of Gilbert Baker, who was widely credited with creating the iconic rainbow flag, a Southern California woman went public that she and another man actually helped Baker create the very first rainbow flag in 1978. In the March 29, 2018 issue, Lynn Segerblom said that the first flags were a collaboration between Baker, herself, and their friend James McNamara, who died of AIDS in 1999. Those first flags, created for that year's San Francisco Pride parade, look quite different from the one commonly seen today. That first one had a rainbow flag design with eight colored stripes. Another version sported a corner section of stars to mimic the design of the American flag. Baker would go on to reduce the number of colored stripes to just six and turned the rainbow flag into an international symbol of LGBTQ rights. Segerblom didn't deny that Baker was instrumental in turning the flag into a global symbol for LGBTQ people but wanted to make sure that her involvement wasn't lost to history.

To read the issue, click here.


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