Gilbert Baker, Creator Of Famed Rainbow Flag Dies

In celebrating the 2015 Supreme Court's ruling to legalize same-sex marriage the White House lit-up with the iconic color scheme of Baker's flag

Lifelong activist and artist Gilbert Baker, most famous for creating the iconic rainbow flag which has become a banner for the global LGBTQ movement, died Thursday in NY at age 65.

That year, Harvey Milk, a San Francisco politician and gay rights leader, asked Baker to create an emblem for the movement (Milk was assassinated that year).

Using his new skill, Baker began using his new talent to make banners for gay events and marches.

The flag eventually became a universal symbol of LGBTQ pride, and in 1997, on the anniversary of Milk's election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the city raised the flag permanently over the Castro district, where it remains to this day.

Baker, 65, died Thursday in his sleep, said Cleve Jones, an AIDS activist and Baker's longtime friend.

Gilbert Baker's work as a flag maker spans 39 years and includes two world records for flag making. I can't stop crying.

Baker also created an assortment of fine art celebrating the Rainbow Flag and the LGBT community, his website said.

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Randy Shilts' 1993 book Conduct Unbecoming tells the story of Baker's time in the military, as part of a larger exploration of gay persecution in the military.

The iconic flag, which first had eight stripes, now only has six: red for life, orange for healing, yellow for the sun, green for nature, blue for harmony and purple for spirit. Our world is far less colourful without you, my love. "A flag really fit that mission, because that's a way of proclaiming your visibility, or saying, 'This is who I am!'" Baker told the MoMa in an interview.

"At a time of great uncertainty in the LGBT community, Gilbert's act of sewing together multicolored materials unified and empowered individuals across the country, helping to bring them together under a common cause", Lee wrote.

Baker created the flag for the San Francisco Gay Pride Festival in 1978. Our thoughts are with his friends and family.

A vigil is planned in San Francisco for people to pay their respects to Gilbert.

It was after the election of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California, when Gilbert created the rainbow flag.

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