The different colors symbolize diversity in the gay community, and the flag is used predominantly at gay pride events and in gay villages worldwide in various forms. Originally created with eight colors, pink and turquoise were removed for production purposes and as of 1979, the pride flag consists of six colored stripes.
It is most commonly flown with the red stripe on top, as the colors appear in a natural rainbow. Aside from the symbolism of a diverse LGBT community, the colors were selected to symbolize: red (life), orange (healing), yellow (sunlight), green (nature), blue (harmony), and purple/violet (spirit).
The removed colors stood for sexuality (pink) and art/magic (turquoise).
The rainbow flag has found widespread application on all manner of products including jewelry, clothing and other personal items and the rainbow flag colors are routinely used as a show of LGBT identity and solidarity.
Many people out there don't even recognize it, but to the queer community, it represents a great importance. There is also Stonewall. The bear near the bottom of my blog is a called 'Stoney', after the Stonewall Inn Riots in New York. My best friend brought it back from San Francisco for me. (I took a picture of it).
One legend holds that Judy Garland's funeral, held June 27, 1969, in Manhattan, fanned the flames of gay rage. Other versions of the story claim that dozens of sequined drag queens and a mysterious, unidentified butch lesbian were at the forefront of the street rebellion. But a few facts seem certain.
It was often larger than the other identifying triangles so as to allow homosexuals to be avoided and singled out at a distance. Between 10,000 and 600,000 gay men and women died in the Holocaust. In the 1970s, gay liberation groups resurrected the pink triangle as a popular symbol for the gay rights movement.
Not only is the symbol easily recognized, but it draws attention to oppression and persecution -- then and now. Today, for many the pink triangle represents pride, solidarity, and a promise to never allow another Holocaust to happen again.
*Picture of the hunk holding the flag is a piece of art from Steve Walker