Monday July 22, 2019

How did Rainbow Flag attain the Prestige of representing the LGBT Community?

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Gay pride Flag
Rainbow Flag represents LGBT community, VOA
  • Gilbert Baker who is exceptionally multi-talented was commissioned to create a flag by another gay icon, politician Harvey Milk
  • American flag’s constant display of stars and stripes made him realize the cultural need for a similar rallying sign for the gay community
  • The different colors of the rainbow emphasized togetherness

San Francisco, June 3, 2017: Everyone is delighted to see gay pride’s rainbow flags representing LGBT community winding outside of residential areas, hotels, and other public places. Hitching up them to shirts and on the back of hampers is also in trend expressing universal and never-ending love for colors. But have they ever wondered that who created the rainbow flag (also called Gay Flag) and why did it become a symbol of the LGBT community?

Gilbert Baker (also known as Busty Ross)-an exceptionally multi-talented gay activist- was commissioned to create a flag by another gay icon, politician Harvey Milk, for San Francisco’s auspicious annual pride parade. This Vietnam War veteran and then drag-performer designed the rainbow flag in 1978.

During in an interview in 2015, Baker told the Museum of Modern Art that American flag’s constant display of stars and stripes made him realize the cultural need for a similar rallying sign for the gay community. Besides being a struggling drag performer who was accustomed to create his own garments, he was well-equipped to sew the soon-to-be iconic symbol. As the idea of a flag to represent the gay and lesbian community was already hovering over his mind, the decision to enlist Baker proved fortuitous.

At that time, Nazis used betoken of a pink triangle to symbolize the homosexual group and thus, it metamorphosed into an image for the burgeoning gay rights movement. Baker rejected the use of widely accepted symbol because that symbol represented a dark and painful past. He instead opted to use a rainbow as his inspiration.

Choice of colors behind LGBT Flag: The different colors of the rainbow emphasized togetherness. Since LGBT people come in all races, ages and genders, and the rainbow is the agglomeration of all the colors as well as an indicator of both natural and beautiful. The original flag featured eight colors, each having a different meaning. At the top was hot pink, which represented sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow signifying sunlight, green for nature, turquoise to represent art, indigo for harmony, and finally violet at the bottom for the spirit.

Baker was able to construct the first draft of the now world-renowned rainbow flag, with the help of approximately 30 volunteers working in the heart of the Gay Community Center in San Francisco. It was first showcased at San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day Parade on June 25, 1978.

After the design was unveiled, it imparted a sense of pride among the participants of the parade. In the Paramount Flag Company, the flag was sold in the new altered version where blue replaced hot pink and turquoise for practicality purposes. The assassination of Harvey Milk augmented the rainbow banner only increased. Popularity was hiked again a decade later when a West Hollywood resident sued his landlord over the right to hang his flag outside his residence.

In the years since the rainbow flag has never seen back in popularity. It is unfurled around the globe as a positive representation of the LGBT community. A mile-long version of the flag was created to celebrate the 25th anniversaries of two landmark events; the Stonewall Riots and Baker’s creation of the flag itself.

At the age of 65, Baker died on March 31, 2017, just two years after the legalization of same-sex marriage throughout the U.S. His legacy now remains immortal on in the six-colored flag that flies proudly every Gay Pride month, recognizing the lives and love of LGBT people worldwide.

– by Himanshi Goyal of Newsgram. Twitter: @himanshi1104

Next Story

India Set to Acquire First Dedicated LGBT Hiring Consultancy Firm

"We have over 50 companies, who are very interested in hiring from the LGBTI talent pool," Sinha said

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"We have over 50 companies, who are very interested in hiring from the LGBTI talent pool," Sinha said. Pixabay

Almost a year after the landmark Supreme Court judgement decriminalising homosexuality, India is set to get its first dedicated hiring consultancy firm for the members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, intersex and queer/questioning) community.

At present, even after the change in law, members of India’s LGBTQ community lag behind their western counterparts in attaining equal pay, corporate representation and other benefits.

Accordingly, the Bengaluru-based Diversity & Inclusion firm — Pride Circle — plans to shatter some of these stereotypes via a dedicated wing which will look at the job consultancy market for the LGBTQ candidates.

“There is a lot of systemic bias and roadblock for LGBTI job seekers, these becomes even more challenging for visibly LGBT individuals,” Pride Circle’s Co-Founder Ramkrishna Sinha told IANS.

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“The companies which participated in the job fair were delighted by the candidates they met, five candidates already got confirmed job offers from the fair.” VOA

“Our goal is to work with companies to eliminate such conscious or unconscious biases in the recruitment process and also work with candidates to enable them for facing interviews. A lot of LGBT candidates face issues of self-esteem, due to the series of discrimination they have faced.”

Not just unemployment of LGBTQ candidates, even the lack of sensitisation and unfriendly policies towards businesses that cater to this internationally significant segment of consumers has led to an estimated loss of around $30 billion to India’s GDP as per a World Bank report.

The 2014 World Bank report — Economic Cost of Homophobia and the exclusion of LGBTQ people: A case of India — estimated the country to have lost 0.1-1.7 per cent of the GDP due to homophobia.

“Companies have been hesitant in engaging and at times are unaware of the method to that engagement. The siloes leads to stereotypes and misinformation on both ends, leading to a growing chasm, our aim to build platforms of engagement for the community and corporation to meet,” Sinha said.

“We are encouraging corporations to have avenues of dialogue, look at opportunities to engage besides a full time job, and these could be fellowship, internship, skill building programs etc.”

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Additionally, the firm aims to organise the job fair in 10 cities over the next 18-24 months. The firm is hopeful to place at least 1,000 LGBTQ candidates within a year. Pixabay

Globally, this segment known generically as — Pink Dollar Economy — has become a financially significant sub-section of the consumer market for various industries like travel, insurance and even white goods.

Recently, the firm organised India’s first LGBTQ job fair — RISE (Reimagining Inclusion for Social Equity) — in Bengaluru. Over 40 companies participated in the event including the likes of Uber and Intel.

ALSO READ: People Feel it’s Time for Gay Marriage to Be Made Legal in India

Besides, the job fair saw a participation of more than 300 LGBTQ candidates for various sectors in IT, banking and administration. “We have over 50 companies, who are very interested in hiring from the LGBT talent pool,” Sinha said.

“The companies which participated in the job fair were delighted by the candidates they met, five candidates already got confirmed job offers from the fair.” Additionally, the firm aims to organise the job fair in 10 cities over the next 18-24 months. The firm is hopeful to place at least 1,000 LGBTQ candidates within a year. (IANS)