The Rainbow Flag first appeared in 1978, when it was flown during the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade. Gilbert Baker, a San Francisco artist, designed the rainbow flag in response to a need for a symbol that could be used year after year. The original flag featured 8 colors, each with a distinct meaning assigned by Baker: Hot pink (Sex), Red (Life), Orange (Healing), Yellow (Sunlight), Green (Nature), Turquoise (Magic/Art), Indigo (Serenity), Violet (Spirit).
In 1979, the flag was modified again in order to decorate the two sides of the parade route, which resulted in a six stripe version of the flag we know today — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.
In October 2017, a rainbow LGBT flag was raised at the Stonewall National Monument, the first U.S. National Monument dedicated to LGBT rights and history, situated near the Stonewall Inn. It received its National Monument designation on June 24, 2016. This flag is the first officially maintained LGBT flag at a federal monument.
Thank you to Old Dominion Diversity Resources and Tri-cities Pride for the flag information in these slides.