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Durham University

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

The History of the Rainbow Flag

In 1974, Harvey Milk met Gilbert Baker. This was three years before Harvey was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors– making him the first openly gay person to hold a high public office in a major American city. Gilbert Baker was an artist, and Harvey challenged him to come up with a positive symbol for the LGBT community, which he did. Baker has said he wanted to convey the idea of diversity and inclusion, using "something from nature to represent that our sexuality is a human right". It was first raised in 1978 and included pink and turquoise. The pink and turquoise was removed and the familiar six colour flag has been used since 1979.