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Gilbert Baker, creator of the Gay Pride flag, dies at 65

Gilbert Baker, the colorful gay activist who created the iconic and universally recognized LGBTQ rainbow pride flag, has died, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The former U.S. Army soldier who taught himself to sew, died Thursday in his sleep at his home in New York. Baker was 65, the paper said.

Cleve Jones, a longtime San Francisco gay activist and close friend of Baker, shared the news on his Twitter account.

“My dearest friend in the world is gone. Gilbert Baker gave the world the Rainbow Flag; he gave me forty years of love and friendship,” Jones Tweeted.

Gilbert Baker, the colorful gay activist who created the iconic and universally recognized LGBTQ rainbow pride flag, has died, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. He was 65. In this 2008 photo, Baker makes a speech at San Diego Pride. Photo: Rex Wockner.

Born in Kansas, Baker was stationed in San Francisco from 1970 to 1972 and remained in the City By the Bay until moving to New York in 1994.

Baker proposed the idea of a rainbow flag as a way to unite San Francisco’s LGBT community.

The flag — which has become a rallying cry for LGBTQ pride — was raised on June 25, 1978.

“He knew that he created something that touched people’s hearts and that helped us move forward. He was justifiably proud of it,” Jones told the newspaper.

“I take some comfort in knowing that he will be remembered. For generations to come, people will know that flag,” he said. “It’s an example of how one person can have an amazing and brilliant idea that reaches not just millions, but hundreds of millions of people.”

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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