Rhodri Marsden's interesting objects: The rainbow flag
Rhodri Marsden is the Technology Columnist for The Independent; he has also written about crumpets, Captain Beefheart, rude place names and string. He's also a musician who plays in the band Scritti Politti, and won the under-10 piano category at the 1980 Watford Music Festival by playing a piece called "Silver Trumpets" with verve and aplomb.
Saturday 21 June 2014
* A rainbow flag was first flown as a symbol of LGBT pride 36 years ago this week, when two such flags were hoisted at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade. "From that first moment," said the flag's designer, Gilbert Baker, "I knew that this was the most important thing that I would ever do."
* Baker's skills as a vexillographer stemmed, he has said, from a realisation that he wasn't cut out to be a fashion designer. He was inspired by American politician and gay activist Harvey Milk to create a banner for the parade, an anti-flag that would "reach across borders". Baker also saw it as an answer to the pink triangle, a Nazi-designed symbol which, he felt, "represented homosexuals as victims".
* The original eight-colour flag featured pink, red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, blue and violet, representing sex, life, healing, sunlight, nature, magic, serenity and spirit respectively. The difficulty of obtaining pink material ("I exhausted the very limited supply") saw him reduce the number of colours to seven, and then to six in 1979, when the organisers of that year's Parade in San Francisco expressed a desire to divide the flag in half and fly three stripes on either side of the street. The six-colour flag has since become standard, but Baker has expressed a desire to "bring the eight colours back".
* Baker's rainbow flags have twice broken the world record for the world's largest; firstly in 1994 at the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City, and again in 2003 when a 1.5 mile version was unfurled down Duval Street in Key West, Florida to commemorate the flag's 25th birthday. Following the record attempt, Baker cut it into pieces and distributed them to gay communities around the world. "It belongs to everyone," he said. "That's what makes it wonderful"
Life & Style blogs
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 2 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 3 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 4 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...
£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...
£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...
£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...