5. Gilbert Baker

Gilbert Baker at SF Pride 2012 via Wikimedia Commons via Gwcreative

In March 2017 — just a few months before 2017 Pride month — the LGBTQ community lost Gilbert Baker, a prominent activist and the creator of the Pride Flag. Baker had roots in San Francisco and New York City. In 1978, Baker, with help from other prominent activists such as Harvey Milk, used trash cans at the Gay Community Center in San Francisco to create and dye the first rainbow Pride Flags for use at the parade that year. The Pride crowd responded positively to the flag immediately: without explanation, the community recognized it as its symbol.

While the Pride Flag is pretty to look at, each color has its own meaning that is representative of the LGBTQ Community: the pink stripe represented sex, the red is life, orange for healing, yellow is the sun, green represents nature, turquoise represented magic, and the purple represents the resilient spirit of the community. The flag has since changed from its original design; the pink was removed due to the cost of the fabric and turquoise and blue were combined together to create a rich blue. A controversial proposition, unveiled at the kickoff for Pride month in Philadelphia, suggested that black and brown be added to the flag as a symbol of support for LGBTQ people of color, who often face more harassment and death than white people on the spectrum. Gilbert, also known as “Busty Ross,” died in New York City.