Gilbert Baker, the creator of the internationally recognized — and reviled, by villainous conservatives! — rainbow flag, has died at 65 at home in Manhattan.
Baker's death from natural causes was confirmed by publicist Jay Blotcher.
Along with inventing the flag, unveiled June 25, 1978, Baker also imbued each color on the flag with meaning:
Red = life
Orange = healing
Yellow = sunlight
Green = nature
Turquoise = magic/art
Blue = serenity/harmony
Violet = spirit
Baker served in the army from 1970-1972, depositing him in San Francisco at a fortuitous moment in gay history. His time in the military was recorded in Conduct Unbecoming: Gays and Lesbians in the U.S. Military (St. Martin's Press, 1993) by the late Randy Shilts.
Baker taught himself to sew, often creating banners and flags for marches against the war and for gay rights. He created flags for Mayor Dianne Feinstein of San Francisco and for various heads of state in his career. His mile-long rainbow flag, displayed for the 25th anniversary of Gay Pride in NYC in 1994, was carried by 5,000 marchers, breaking a record as the world's biggest flag, a record he topped in 2003.
According to Blotcher, Baker's final creation was a rainbow flag with nine colors — lavender was added to signify diversity. His new flag was designed to celebrate the 39th anniversary of the rainbow flag, and will be on display in San Francisco during Gay Pride.
He is survived by his mother and his sister.