Tag Archives: 1978

Rainbow Flag, and Gilbert Baker interview.

At each pride march, rainbow flags are proudly carried, but what are the origins?

Gilber Baker was the creator of the original pride flag.  Living in San Francisco, he was skilled at sewing, and friends with Harvey Milk and others in the Gay Rights activists, who often called on him to create banners for the movement.

Baker designed, and hand-dyed with the help of 30 or so others, the first rainbow flags which appeared at the San Francisco pride parade on June 25, 1978.  This first flags had eight stripes, hot pink for sexuality, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for magic/art, indigo for serenity/harmony, and violet for spirit.

gay rights activists in taipei taiwan

Gay Rights Activists in Taipei, Taiwan on Oct. 31, 2009, photograph by Charles Meacham

During 1978 as the pride flag became increasingly popular, hot pink was dropped due to the lack of availability of the color.  In 1979 the flag was again modified by dropping the turquoise stripe, so that it would have an even number of stripes.  The rainbow flag is now a proud symbol of the gay rights movement, and is not only found on flags, but t-shirt, bags, and even bottles of Absolute.

Below is an interview with Gilbert Baker where he talks more about the flag’s creation.

Getting Ready for Sydney – Part 1

It’s a little over 2 months away, but the next city the WWP project is preparing to visit is Sydney, Australia.  The annual Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras parade has become a huge event, with over 10,000 participants and hundreds of thousands of onlookers expected to turn out this year for the celebration.  As it is such a well-attended (and organized) event, they require special passes and permits to photograph, which we are in the process of getting.  What’s particularly unique about Sydney’s parade is that it’s grown to become a mainstream event, and includes numerous LGBT representatives of community groups/organizations marching ‘out and proud’ – even the police force.

For today, I decided to look up some of the history concerning the parade …

The Roots:
Like the start of many other pride parades, the first Sydney march was organized to commemorate the Stonewall Riots.  The parade took place June 24th, 1978, with over 1,000 people turning out to protest against discrimination.  The crowd started marching down Oxford Street to Hyde Park, but the police broke up the demonstration arresting 53 persons.

In 1979, the Sydney pride march was again held, but fortunately this time incident free.  After several more successful runs, the parade was moved to February to better take advantage of Australia’s summer weather.  After this, the parade kept growing and growing.  The annual parade and accompanying events and activities that make up Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, have become a well-accepted part of Sydney’s attractions, with international visitors especially arriving for the event.

I found online that there is a website dedicated to sharing Sydney’s ‘Pride History’.  They provide a chronology of important dates in Sydney’s LGBT history throughout the past decades, and even photos of the first march.  From that site I also found a link to the ‘Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives’ that shares even more old pride march posters, and loads of other records discussing the communities history.

For more, here’s the links:

10am Saturday 24 June 1978 Day of International Gay Solidarity—Photographer Sally Colechin