The Despicable Origin and Meaning of the ‘Rainbow Flag’

by Church Militant  •  •  September 24, 2018   

True history of gay flag should make it revolting to Catholics

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By Jim Russell

Want irony? Burning the U.S. flag is still protected under the First Amendment as "symbolic speech." But try burning the notorious rainbow flag of the so-called "LGBTQIA community," as Chicago priest Fr. Paul Kalchik just did? Your cardinal-archbishop, Blase Cupich, will try to burn you.

Coverage of Kalchik's brave act and Cupich's vindictive response is elsewhere — but let's look at the rainbow flag itself and the diabolical and mocking message that its inclusion on a banner also featuring the very cross of Jesus Christ Himself is really communicating.

Did you know the rainbow flag was first adopted as a symbol for "gay pride" by way of a San Francisco artist named Gilbert Baker, who crafted the symbol at the behest of gay icon Harvey Milk, who himself, notoriously, is said to have had a 16-year-old boy as his live-in lover in the 1960s?


So at the very root of this diabolical symbol is its inspiration taken from Milk, an icon of the "LGBT community" who was, himself, while in his 30s, a perpetrator of same-sex sexual abuse of an underaged 16-year-old boy. Keep that in mind.

With Milk's encouragement, it seems that artist Gilbert Baker then set out to create a flag that was destined to fly for the first time at San Francisco's "Gay Freedom Day Parade" on June 25, 1978, which was just months before Harvey Milk himself was killed, forever weaving together the martyr figure and the rainbow flag as core elements of the "gay pride" narrative.

Why a rainbow? Some suggest overtones of the original "gay icon" Judy Garland and her signature song "Over the Rainbow." Others think it more likely that the then-popular rainbow "Flag of the Races" inspired the adoption of a multi-colored symbol, as the "gay rights" movement had directly borrowed much from its civil-rights counterpart. Another factor is that, even since the Victorian era, it was commonplace for homosexual men to wear brightly colored fabric or flowers to subtly advertise to other homosexual men that they were of a similar inclination.

In any case, it was Gilbert Baker himself, who would later use the drag-queen name "Busty Ross," who chose the original eight-colored horizontal-striped pattern, and then, significantly, assigned specific meanings to each of these colors.

What did each color actually mean to the "gay pride" devotees?

  • Hot pink = Sex
  • Red = Life
  • Orange = Healing
  • Yellow = Sunlight
  • Green = Nature
  • Turquoise = Magic/Art
  • Indigo = Serenity
  • Violet = Spirit

That is the version of the flag that started it all. That it first used eight stripes is significant, because it reveals clearly the now-obscured but then-accepted true intentions behind the meaning of this disturbing symbol.

In that first year of wildly popular demand for the rainbow flag, two things occurred that would result in the six-colored version that is now ubiquitously ever-present in our culture. It turned out that the "hot pink" flag fabric was just not available for mass production. The flag then became seven-striped for a while. But the odd number of stripes made it awkward to hang vertically from lampposts, which obscured view of the middle color. So turquoise and indigo were combined into one color — royal blue. Now, three colors could be seen on each side of a pole when hung vertically.

Only one response suffices for the banner-burners' heroic act of prayer and reparation, ridding their community of a truly diabolical symbol: Well done, good and faithful servants.

So embedded in this symbol, which is now used universally and thought to merely represent "diversity" (as though the colors signify lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queers, etc.), the true history is much, much more disturbing from an authentically Catholic point of view.

The original message conveyed by the flag was to affirm and celebrate "gay sex" — the hot pink stripe.

The original message conveyed by the flag was to affirm magic — the turquoise stripe.

The original message conveyed by the flag was to affirm "spirit" — but what spirit?

Think about it — were it not for the unavailability of hot pink fabric, the rainbow flag that has draped Catholic parishes, churches, sanctuaries and even altars would have been visibly expressing affirmation and approval for gay sex acts.

As it is, because the flag was changed, that aspect of the flag's meaning has never changed as far as its proponents are concerned — gay sex is just fine, and the flag represents approval for it. This approval has only been made invisible to the viewer of the symbol.

Similar is the case with the inclusion of "magic" as a partial meaning — the six-colored version of the flag now in vogue uses royal blue to denote "harmony/peace" rather than "magic/art" and "serenity" — still think this isn't diabolical and worth burning?

Well stay tuned — the flag is still evolving, because six stripes just aren't enough anymore. Just this past February, months ago, at the "Love Fest" parade in Sao Paulo, Brazil, organizers decided to bring back that original eight-striped flag — including the hot pink stripe designating "sex" — while adding one more stripe.

This new version now has a ninth stripe of white, in the middle of the original eight, supposedly designating all possible "human diversity" (race, gender, orientation, ethnicity). "LGBT-friendly" Catholic parishes everywhere must be brimming with excitement at the prospect of budgeting for new nine-striped rainbow banners to adorn the altar upon which we celebrate the very Paschal Mystery of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Which brings us back to the recent incident in which a parish — not just the pastor but faithful parishioners took it upon themselves to slice up and burn, with prayers of exorcism, a banner that included not just the rainbow flag, but also had the Holy Cross of Christ superimposed upon it — both abomination and desecration, in one banner. But be careful, saying that out loud can get you burned.

Only one response suffices for the banner-burners' heroic act of prayer and reparation, ridding their community of a truly diabolical symbol: Well done, good and faithful servants.

Jim Russell lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and writes on a variety of topics related to the Catholic faith, including natural law, liturgy, theology of the body and sexuality. He can be reached by email at


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