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Key West City Commission Chambers were filled Tuesday as the community kicked off Pride Fest. And part of the celebration of this city’s solidarity against intolerance, Mayor Craig Cates proclaimed June 15th Gilbert Baker Day in honor of the creator of the rainbow flag.

Baker created the flag in 1978 in honor of his friend Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California. Milk, who was serving on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, was assassinated in 1978.

Since its creation, the flag has been adopted by the LGBT community as the symbol of diversity and equality.

In 2003, the City of Key West celebrated the 25th anniversary of the flag’s inception with the famous Sea to Sea Diversity Flag which stretch the entire length of Duval Street, more than a mile in length.

During the celebration, Baker was embraced by the community and presented with the Key to the Island by then-Mayor Jimmy Weekley.

“Gilbert Baker, the ‘Gay Betsy Ross,’ now dances in the sky amongst the beautiful rainbows,” reads the proclamation, “and we will always remember June 15, 2003, the day that changed our island forever.”


In the photo: Susan Kent, Mayor Craig Cates, Key West Business Guild Director Matt Hon, Lacy Camper, Shawna Wynd, and Commissioners Sam Kaufman, Jimmy Weekley and Vice Mayor Clayton Lopez were among the many members of the Key West Community who came to the front of the commissioner chambers Tuesday to hold up the rainbow flag in honor of its creator Gilbert Baker.


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