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Original Rainbow Flag

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Original 8-Stripe Rainbow Flag

Sewn flag with Canvas Header & Grommets

Use of the 8-stripe original rainbow flag by the gay community began in 1978 when it first appeared in the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade.

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Original Rainbow Pride Flag with 8 Stripes

The Rainbow Flag first appeared at the San Francisco Gay & Lesbian Freedom Day Parade in 1978, and has since become an international symbol of pride for the LGBTQ+ community. It is flown at gay pride events worldwide, as well as at homes and businesses in a show of support and solidarity for the LGBTQ movement. However, the Rainbow Flag flown in 1978 is slightly different than the one commonly seen today.

Original Rainbow Pride Flag vs. Modern Rainbow Flag

While the modern-day Rainbow Flag features six stripes of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet, the Original Rainbow Pride Flag of 1978 contained a total of eight stripes. Designed by artist Gilbert Baker, the “Retro 8” Rainbow Pride Flag also included hot pink and turquoise, and each color was assigned a specific meaning.

  • Hot Pink for Sex
  • Red for Life
  • Orange for Healing
  • Yellow for Sunlight
  • Green for Nature
  • Turquoise for Magic/Art
  • Indigo for Harmony/Serenity
  • Violet for Spirit

Unfortunately, the Original Rainbow Pride Flag could not be produced on a large scale because hot pink fabric was not readily available at the time. So, to meet growing demand, the hot pink stripe was removed in 1978. The flag was modified again in 1979 to create an even number of stripes, and indigo and turquoise were replaced with a single stripe of royal blue, resulting in the now standard six-stripe version of the Rainbow Flag.

Other Variations of the Rainbow Pride Flag

In honor of the flag’s 25th Anniversary, Gilbert Baker restored the Rainbow Pride Flag back to it’s original eight-stripe version, and advocated for others to do the same. Then in 2017, on the flag’s 39th anniversary, Baker released another version of the flag containing nine stripes. The ninth stripe, in lavender, was placed above the hot pink, and is said to represent diversity.

Other variations of the Rainbow Pride Flag include the Philadelphia Rainbow Pride Flag, which is based on the six-stripe version with black and brown added above the red to include people of color, and the Pride Progress Flag, which includes a chevron along the hoist made of black, brown, light blue, pink and white. Gettysburg Flag Works also offers a variety of other LGBTQ+ Pride Flags, including the New Glory Rainbow Flag, the Bi-Sexual Pride Flag, and both the Transgender Helms Flag and the Transgender Pellinen Flag.

How to Buy the Original Rainbow Pride Flag

The Original Rainbow Pride Flag can be purchased online in a variety of sizes from 2x3’ up to 8X12’. We can also create custom pride flags to your exact specifications. For questions about the Original Rainbow Pride Flag, or to place an order by phone, give us a call at 1-888-697-3524. You can also use our Live Chat feature during business hours, or contact us online.

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