Rainbow flag creator Gilbert Baker dead at 65

In 1970, as the gay rights movement grew and moved from San Francisco to New York, Gilbert Baker was asked by friends to create banners and posters because he was extremely creative.

In 2015, New York's Museum of Modern Art bought the flag for its design collection, calling it as a "powerful design milestone".

Rainbow flag creator Gilbert Baker has died. Baker was part of a generation that pulled the gay community out of the closet and survived the AIDS crisis.

On Friday evening mourners gathered for a vigil in the Castro district - the heart of the LGBTQ community in San Francisco - while outside city hall Baker's flag flew at half mast. Baker reportedly died on Thursday night in his sleep at his home in New York City, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The civil rights activist was 65 years old.

He ended up stationed in San Francisco where he chose to stay after leaving the army in 1972.

Along with volunteers, Baker tie-dyed and pieced together the first gay pride flags at a gay community center, unveiling them in a June gay pride parade, the Times reports.

"A flag translates into everything, from tacky souvenirs to the names of organizations and the way that flags function", Mr. Baker said in an interview in 2008. The colors of the flag represents, sexuality (Pink), life (R), healing (Orange), sunlight (Yellow), nature (Green), art (Turquoise), harmony (Indigo) and the human spirit (Violet).

The rainbow flag has been raised in central San Francisco to honour him.

In 1979, Baker went to work at Paramount Flag Co.in San Francisco and created "flamboyant window displays", according to his online biography.

"I thought, [the LGBT community] should have our own flag to proclaim our own power and our own place", he said.

Cleve Jones, a friend and gay-rights activist who confirmed the death, said Mr. Baker had a stroke several years ago but had not been sick recently.

The rainbow flag today is the universal symbol of inclusion, love, and peace.

Current San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee said in a statement that the rainbow flag "has become a source of solace, comfort and pride for all those who look upon it".

  • Leroy Wright