Key West, Orlando, Gilbert Baker, and the Sea-to-Sea Rainbow Flag

Key West
Image via Floridas Keys News

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Earlier this year, we mourned the passing of Gilbert Baker, the LGBTQ rights activist who designed the rainbow pride flag in 1978. This June we again feel his loss as countless rainbow flags are waved at LGBTQ pride celebrations all over the world.

Fourteen years ago, Key West Pride had an instrumental role in celebrating the flag’s 25th anniversary, reports the Florida Keys News. On June 15, 2003, pride revelers unfurled a 1.25-mile long pride flag from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, earning it the name the “Sea-to-Sea Rainbow Flag.”

Baker and several volunteers spent months sewing the enormous flag. When asked why he chose Key West to celebrate the flag’s anniversary, Baker said, “The thing that sold it for me, in terms of committing to do it, was when I found that the city’s motto was ‘One Human Family.’”

Susan West, who helped create the flag, spoke about the power of watching over 3,000 volunteers carry the flag. “We had people join in at the last second. My neighbors were having a birthday party across the street. They brought the whole party down.”

She added, “Gilbert was a sweetheart, he kept in touch. He will always be around us.”

Section 93 of the Sea-to-Sea Rainbow Flag made an appearance last week at the County Administration building in honor of the one year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, according to the Orlando Observer.

Read the Florida Keys News article here.

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