Rainbow Flag 30th Anniversary
By Gilbert Baker
© 2008 Mick Hicks
■ Gilbert Baker designed the 'rainbow flag' 30 years ago
this June. The flag is, today, recognised almost everywhere as a
symbol of gay pride.
Our movement is built on the shoulders of individuals
who stand for freedom and equality. One at time, in every town, in every
country, people who live openly, truthfully. Each one of us is a drop of
water in a wave of change for human rights and justice. Indeed we are a
rainbow of hope, love, and liberation that wraps around the Earth.
Emily Dickenson said: “Flags are a brave sight, but no
true eye ever went by one steadily.”
In my view the rainbow flag is unfinished, as the
movement it represents, an arc that begins well before me, its breadth far
broader than all of our experiences put together, reaching the farthest
corners of the world with a message of solidarity and a beacon of hope for
those who follow in our footsteps.
In the beginning the Rainbow Flag was about
liberation. It was about breaking free of an existence limited by fear and
conformity, the right to express sexuality without shame or retaliation from
those who legislate “morality”.
All revolutions start with a word, and the word is
no. No to injustice, no to discrimination, no to oppression, no to slavery,
no to violence, no to lives dictated by fear. Yes to love. The defiant
colors in our flag have unfurled that idea for thirty years.
The Rainbow Flag lives because it represents us all in
our diversity and beauty. It endures because it connects us to nature and
transcends words to lift hearts, enlighten minds and inspire courage
My life has been devoted to creating, expanding and
evolving its use. In the vernacular of vexillographers, a true flag is torn
from the soul of the people, millions of people worldwide united in an
expression of love and pride.
The rainbow flag is an art action. When people fly
the rainbow flag, put it on a bumper sticker, or t-shirt, or use any of its
endless variations, they are saying something. Right out front they’re
saying this is who I am.
It is a direct visibility action gay people are doing
everywhere, phenomenal in every sense. The rainbow is a connecter, a global
channel, it surfs the wind of change.
Flags are of the moment. The rainbow flag is a
conscious thought, a brave and fearless action. It belongs to everyone.
And that is what makes it wonderful.