On This Gay Day: The Pride flag was raised for the first time

The Pride flag was flown for the first time in 1978

The rainbow flag that is a symbol for the LGBTI+ communities was created by designer Gilbert Baker for San Francisco’s Freedom Day celebrations in 1978. Originally the flag had eight colours but since 1979 it has usually had six colours.

The colors were determined to symbolize: life (red), healing (orange), sunlight (yellow), nature (green), harmony (blue), and spirit (purple/violet). The removed colors stood for sexuality (pink) and art/magic (turquoise).

Baker created the flag after being challenged by gay rights activist Harvey Milk to create a symbol for the gay and lesbian community.

After Milk’s assassination in 1978 demand for the flag increased dramatically and it began to be commercially made. Due to a shortage of pink fabric the pink section was dropped, later the turquoise section was removed so the flag would look even when hung vertically.

Baker said he wanted to convey the idea of diversity and inclusion, using “something from nature to represent that our sexuality is a human right”. Baker didn’t copyright his design so it’s been free for everyone to use.

Today the Pride flag is recognised across the world. In 2016 the symbol became available as an emoji.

Gilbert Baker passed away in 2017.

George Michael was born on this day in 1963

Musician George Michael was born on this day in 1963. He became one of the biggest pop idols of the 1980s and 1990s both as a member of the band Wham! and as a solo performer.

Wham! scored a stack of hits between 1982 and 1986, among them Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Bad Boys, Everything She Wants, Freedom, Last Christmas, I’m Your Man, The Edge of Heaven, Club Tropicana, Young Guns and Wham Rap.

Michael went on to have an enormous solo career logging more hits with Careless Whisper, A Different Corner, Freedom ’90, Too Funky, Father Figure, Faith, Monkey, I Want Your Sex and many more.

In the early ’90s Michael entered into a prolonged legal dispute with his record company that he ended up losing, and it kept him away from releasing new music for several years. Around the same time he also met and fell in love with Brazilian Fashion designer Anselmo Feleppa, but sadly their relationship was short lived as Feleppa died of an AIDS related illness.

When George Michael brought out his next album Older it was dedicated to his lost love, and the songs reflected Michael’s grief about his loss. Years later when he appeared on the BBC program Desert Island Discs Michael said Older was his greatest work, and he didn’t mind if he never topped it, as he never wanted to experience the same level of emotion again.  

While the album was dedicated to Feleppa, many fans didn’t pick up on the references to a same-sex relationship. Michael’s sexuality would become public knowledge in 1998 when he was arrested for leud behavior in a Los Angeles police sting targetting gay men cruising in public bathrooms.

After his arrest Michael opened up about his sexuality and relationships and became a public campaigner for LGBT rights and raised money for HIV research.

George Michael died in 2016 at the age of 53. His cause of death was later revealed to be a heart condition, and the effects of a fatty liver.

OIP Staff

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