RVA50 Object 50 “Rainbow Pride Flag, circa 2010”

Rainbow Pride Flag, circa 2010
Nylon, metal

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond flew this rainbow flag at the request of a group of its employees to recognize gay pride month in June 2011.  One day later the bank’s president received a letter from a Virginia politician and opponent of gay rights chastising the institution.  Gay rights advocates responded quickly and the bank briefly became the center of a national media frenzy.  In many ways this controversy reflects the changing demographics and values of the city and of the commonwealth.

The use of the rainbow flag as a symbol of diversity, inclusiveness, and hope has a long history and is based in the biblical promise of the rainbow.  In 1978 Gilbert Baker, a San Francisco, California artist, created the first 8-striped version of the flag in response to a local activist’s call for the need for a community symbol.  Based on the 5-stripe “Flag of the Race,” Baker dyed and sewed the fabric for the 1978 flag himself.

Gift of The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, 2012