Tuesday the Gilbert Baker Foundation in partnership with the GLBT Historical Society unveiled a new Pride Flag pop-up art exhibit “In their own eyes“in the old Harvey Milk camera store at 575 Castro Street.
Gilbert Baker Foundation President Charley Beal announced the art exhibit at yesterday’s monthly meeting of the Castro dealers.
Beal, a longtime friend of Gilbert Baker, said the exhibit will be open throughout Pride Month. The art exhibit was unveiled on Baker’s 70th birthday.
Charley Beal of the Gilbert Baker Foundation (left) and Terry Beswick of the GLBT Historical Society (right). | Photo: Gilbert Baker Foundation / Facebook
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) merchandise store closed in March after more than a decade in space. The GLBT Historical Society and the National Parks Conservation Association are currently exploring the idea of the store becoming a national parks service site.
The same exhibition is also presented inside the Stonewall Inn in New York, which was the site of the 1969 protests and the birthplace of the LGBTQ civil rights movement. In 2016, Stonewall became the first national LGBTQ monument.
The art exhibit celebrates the community of various pride flags that have been created since Gilbert Baker created the Rainbow Flag in 1978. Baker died at his New York home in 2017 at the age of 65 years old.
The eight flags include; Baker’s Rainbow Flag, AVEN Community’s Asexual Pride Flag, Leather Pride Flag by Tony DeBlase, Amber Hikes and Teri Gerbec’s More Color, More Pride Flag (Philadelphia Flag), Michael Page’s Bisexual Flag, Progress Pride Flag by Daniel Quasar, Monica F. Helms’ Transgender Pride Flag and Emily Gwen’s Lesbian Pride Flag.
During the meeting, Beal said people often ask which flag they should fly, and he said, “Close the flag that speaks to your soul. There is room in heaven for everyone.”
The window display consists of eight pride flags and includes the history, inspiration and meaning of each flag by its respective creator (s).
Photo: Steven Bracco / Hoodline
“Even though we are making great strides at home, the forces of hatred and intolerance, which unfortunately include members of our own community, have refocused their efforts on depriving our black, brown and trans siblings. right and their dignity, ”Beal said.
“Like Gilbert Baker before them, our artists have responded by creating powerful new flags to rally the community for positive change,” added Beal.
“All of these flags are beautiful and deserve to be flown high, whether on a protest march or on your porch,” Beal said. “We are the Gilbert Baker Foundation and are proud that they were all born from the original rainbow flag.”
The art exhibition coincides with the reopening tomorrow of the GLBT Historical Society Museum. Tuesday, the Mayor of London Race announced that she was looking for 10 million dollars for the city to build an LGBTQ museum.
Today, the GLBT Historical Society will unveil a 10ft by 28ft segment of one of two Original eight color rainbow flags flew June 25, 1978 to United Nations Plaza for the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade (now San Francisco Pride).
Photo: Steven Bracco / Hoodline
Baker’s rainbow flag main pole was added to Harvey Milk Plaza in 1997. It was erected on November 7, the 20th anniversary of Milk’s election victory, and has become a symbol Global LGBTQ + Pride.
Responding to these recent calls, Beal said he supports the diversity of symbols around the Castro, but Gilbert Baker’s rainbow flag at Harvey Milk Plaza must remain.
“I support the idea that these symbols should be in the Castro,” Beal told Hoodline. “Maybe people see themselves more in other symbols.”
“Gilbert’s flag is a flag of human values,” added Beal. “There is no L-stripe, G-stripe, B-stripe, T-stripe or Q-stripe.”
“He’s always open to new identities. All of those other flags are identity flags,” Beal said. “I think Gilbert’s flag is the most diverse and inclusive symbol in the world. Once you have your identity-related stripes, you’re going to exclude someone.”
In 2017, former District 8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy’s attempt to score Gilbert Baker’s rainbow flag failed due to a Historic Preservation Commission the requirement that benchmarks be at least 25 years old. Next year the flag and pole will qualify for landmark status.
Beal has told Hoodline for the past six months that he has been working to score the flag. Beal says he has met with representatives of District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and the London Breed Mayor’s Office.
Rainbow flag at Castro Station and Harvey Milk Plaza. | Photo: Steven Bracco / Hoodline
Beal acknowledged that it is likely that the flag and pole will have to fall if the Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza succeed with his proposal to reshape the square. Meanwhile, Beal would like to see a temporary flag pole installed. According to Beal, the redesign of the plaza could offer the opportunity to install additional flag poles to display other pride flags.
Beal also announced that the Gilbert Baker Foundation recently secured a grant of $ 5,000 to $ 7,000 to pay for the annual maintenance and replacement of the rainbow flag and flag pole in perpetuity. At that time, Beal refused to disclose the source of the funding.
The rainbow flag was previously funded by a donation from the late Tom Taylor and Dr Jerry Goldstein Diversity Foundation.