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Famous gay-pride flag work of native Kansan

The rainbow flag was designed in 1978 in San Francisco by a native Kansan.
The rainbow flag was designed in 1978 in San Francisco by a native Kansan. AP

The rainbow flag and its colors have been everywhere since the U.S. Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision, including in the White House’s exterior lights and millions of Facebook users’ profile photos. Kansans celebrating the ruling can take extra pride in the state’s connection to the flag, which was designed in 1978 in San Francisco by Chanute native Gilbert Baker. He also lived in Topeka, Wichita and Parsons in his youth and later served in the Army. Baker said in 2010: “My life in Kansas was pretty hard. It was pretty difficult to be gay then.” Now 64 and a New Yorker, Baker recently told style site Refinery29 that he had loved to sew and was invited to make a flag for a gay-rights march by Harvey Milk, the San Francisco city-county supervisor who later was murdered. Baker said: “Until we had a flag, the symbol for our movement was the pink triangle, which was put on us by Hitler and the Nazis.... We needed something that expressed our beauty, our soul, our love – that came from us and wasn’t put on us.” Of the court’s decision, he said: “It means we have status as people, we are a global tribe and we have power. We have human rights.” – Rhonda Holman

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