Tag Archives: Gilbert Baker

Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride

Just discovered this movie, and it looks great … 

BEYOND GAY: The Politics of Pride 
Presented by Big Gay Movie 

Increasingly the Pride movement is globalizing. Coolen and many Pride organizers in North America and Europe, where celebration has overtaken political action, strive to remind their communities that Pride is at its heart a global fight for human rights.

synopsis-caps

Despite the hundreds of thousands of people cheering in the streets, Pride is much, much more than a parade and a party. It is a giant step on the road to true equality. The GLBT community during Pride is an entertaining and engaging multi- ethnic group than can bring attention to the issue of human rights with diversity, insight, and of course plenty of fabulousness. Some highlights include:

InterPride 2007, Zurich Switzerland
Coolen and co-parade director, Dean Nelson, attend this international conference of Pride organizations. Many human rights activists are interviewed, including American artist and activist Gilbert Baker creator of the first rainbow flag.

Sao Paulo Pride Parade, Brazil
This begins a tour Coolen and the crew will never forget. VIP access to the world’s largest Gay Parade where 4 million people take part in their government sponsored Pride: a street party that defies the imagination. Their theme this year: Homophobia Kills! Then, 7days later …

Moscow Pride
Coolen and crew are the only foreigners involved in the clandestine preparations for this event. Secret meetings, hidden identities, police harassment, the first successful peaceful Pride March, and a violent counter protest reveal just how passionate people can be about a parade.

Pride Colombo, Sri Lanka
Pride events here are only advertised after they take place, in order to protect the identities of those brave enough to attend. Our host, Pride organizer Sahran Abeysundra, later travels to Canada to be a Grand Marshal in Vancouver’s Parade.

Vancouver Pride
“Celebrating 30 Years of the Rainbow”: Back in Vancouver, where equal marriage is legal and the parade entertains half a million people, Ken struggles to make the parade have some meaning after all he has seen. Through Ken we discover that despite thousands of people cheering in the streets, Pride is much, much more than a parade and a party. It’s a giant step on the road to true human equality.” – movie synopsis from

Rainbow Flag-tastic (continued)

While they both no longer appear in the Guinness Book of World Records (here’s the new record holder), two rainbow flags created by Gilbert Baker have held the title of “Largest Flag in the world.”

The first of these record holding rainbow flags was sewn into existence in 1994.  Baker produced a mile-long  (1.6km) flag for  New York’s Stonewall 25 march, in remembrance of the 25th anniversary of the riots.  This massive flag was 30 feet wide, and was carried in the pride parade by almost 10,000 people.

The mile long flag’s title of largest flag was nullified in 2003 with the production of the Rainbow 25’s sea-to-sea flag.  At 1 ¼ miles (2 km) long, this massive flag pays tribute to the creation of the first pride flag on its 25th anniversary.  Unfurled on June 15, 2003 in Key West, Florida, the flag ran the length of Key West’s Duval Street, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.

Key West Rainbow Flag Information
After the event, this historic flag was divided into pieces and shared with pride organizations around the world, including as I was recently informed with ProGay Philippines – congrats!

I tried to find a video clip showing the flag, but I didn’t have much luck.  However, I did find a documentary that was produced about the whole Key West event …  (available on Amazon, here.)

“In Key West, nobody cares who you want to sleep with.” “You have gays, straights, Europeans, Latin Americans, Blacks, Cubans, and White folks all living together on a 2 by 4 mile island. When you put people that close together, they tend to find ways to get along.” And on this amazing island only 90 miles from Cuba, this very diverse community celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Rainbow Flag by stretching the longest Rainbow Flag in history — 8000 feet in all -from one end of the island to the other.”
Key West: City of Colors, DVD description

I did find some pictures of the event, they’re from the site: http://lordoftheflies.org/img/keywest.htm

Creation of the Key West Rainbow Flag

Baker creating the Rainbow25 sea-to-sea flag

Key West Rainbow Flag

Marchers carrying the flag (Key West, 2003)

Key West Rainbow Flag

Wow!

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.