June is LGBTQ Pride Month and social networks and sites of all kinds are releasing special emojis and graphics in celebration.
On Friday, Google used its latest Doodle to honor American artist and LGBTQ rights activist Gilbert Baker, creator of the rainbow flag that has become a symbol of pride for LGBTQ individuals worldwide. Baker, who died last year at 65, would have turned 66 today.
According to TIME, Baker left the military after traveling from Kansas to San Francisco with the U.S. Army. After leaving the military, he taught himself to sew and would often volunteer to make protest banners for the city’s LGBTQ community.
In 1978, gay leader Harvey Milk asked Baker to create an icon that would symbolize both activists and the community alike. At the time, the only symbol of the LGBTQ community was the pink triangle, which was the way gay prisoners were identified in Nazi concentration camps. Baker wanted to create something more celebratory and positive to represent the growing LGBTQ movement.
The first flag, which included eight different colored stripes each with their own meaning, was put together by volunteers in the attic of the Gay Community Center, reports TIME. After Milk’s assassination, the number of stripes was reduced to six due to the limited availability of fabric in the wake of the flag’s new popularity.
Happy Pride, everyone!