Flag in the Map

The Virtual Exhibit

Families and Friends

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Portraits of Pride

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“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud”

-Maya Angelou




As a global human rights organisation for sexual and gender minorities, we constantly mon-itor people’s lived experiences in different nation states, and we know the importance of the Pride Flag to people’s identities, and their resistance to often oppressive regimes. We constantly see and hear of the breadth of its evergrowing influence.

The Pride flag has taken on a symbolic power of global proportions. From being waved in Pride marches, to serving as a symbol of support from our growing allies, to becoming an image which transgresses national borders – it unites us as a global, connected, community. The Pride Flag has evolved, as we have evolved as a movement. It represents our love, our freedom and our growing consciousness for human rights for all.


Yet, we must never forget that in some nation states, flying the Pride Flag demands courage and can come with a severe backlash from the state. We have seen this in the sad death of Sarah Hegazi in Egypt, who was arrested and tortured for flying the Pride Flag at a concert. In Russia, whereby flying the flag publicly can lead to arrest. And recently in Iran, where the state placed Pride Flags on the ground for the public to walk over.

Some nation states fear the force behind the Pride Flag. They fear our voices, our strength, and our power in numbers. The Pride Flag is our tool to unite behind, and the greater the storm that we face, the brighter the rainbow.

The Flag in the Map project represents a truly global way to proclaim the power of the Pride Flag, and to highlight to the world the bravery and social justice of everyone who made wonderful contributions to our project. ReportOUT are delighted to be co-founders and partners with the Gilbert Baker Foundation on this truly inspirational project. We stand in solidarity with you all.


Gilbert Baker, the creator of the LGBTQ+ Rainbow Flag, passed away on March 31, 2017. He
died in his sleep at the age of 65. He had spent the previous few months furiously creating
art: banners for the first Women’s March and holocaust uniforms for a gallery exhibit in San

When a friend called to tell me Gilbert had died, I rushed to his apartment in Harlem.
There I found fabric scraps scattered around his living floor, scissors on his sewing machine,
and an ironing board draped with 60 freshly ironed nine color rainbow flags — the original
flag’s eight colors with a lavender stripe added for diversity.

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Gilbert was always looking to the future, always creating art as a political tool to fight
oppression in the only way he knew how: one stitch at a time. In the months that followed
his passing, his friends and political allies created a foundation to keep his incredible legacy
going. It is a daunting task. The Rainbow Flag he created in 1978 is the most recognizable
symbols of liberation, diversity and inclusion ever created by human hands. Gilbert’s art has
touched every corner of this great earth.

This year we decided that the best way we could honor Baker’s amazing legacy was to
commemorate it on a global level. We asked people around the world to tell us how they use
the Rainbow Flag to fight oppression and celebrate liberation. We also asked them to tell us
how it has helped them take that first brave step out of the darkness of the closet into the
light of freedom.

The resulting responses are here, in this collaboration with ReportOUT called Flag In
The Map. Together, we have collected hundreds of extraordinary photos and personal stories
from around the world illustrating the power embodied in those simple strips of colored
fabric that Gilbert forged into this powerful symbol, this beacon of hope, this Rainbow Flag.


The Book

Flag in the Map

by Drew Dalton and Charley Beal
Fine Art Photography/CoffeeTable Book

For decades, the Rainbow Flag has changed lives. Flag in the Map is a stirring collection of photographs and stories that proves the flag’s universal power to inspire LGBTQ+ people around the world, especially in countries where their everyday existence is threatened. The stories they tell in this book are hopeful, sometimes harrowing, but always fascinating – and a testament to the enduring strength of the Rainbow Flag.

This book is an exciting partnership between ReportOUT and the Gilbert Baker Foundation!


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