Gilbert Baker, who passed away in 2017 at the age of just 65, was considered by some to be one of the most influential people for gay rights that has ever lived. As a matter of fact, he was a perennial favorite at many Gay Pride parades throughout the country and he continued to provide some serious inspiration for anyone who found themselves struggling with their own sexuality. There are many ways that he influenced the LGBTQ movement. He will no doubt be missed now that he is no longer here on the earth, but his spirit will remain, as will his memory, especially for many of those who made the decision to come out because they were inspired by him.
For starters, it’s important to know that you are talking about the very individual that was responsible for designing the flag that you see at every Gay Pride parade there is. That fact in and of itself is enough to endear him to thousands or maybe even tens of thousands of individuals. Even if that is the only thing you knew about him, you would know that he has done something important for that particular community. However, if that is the only thing you think he has done for the LGBTQ community, think again. In reality, his contributions go so much further.
Baker was also a dedicated activist for gay rights. He felt strongly that he should not be treated any differently than anyone else just because he was gay. He also felt the level of dedication and intensity for others who were also gay. As such, he worked tirelessly to get legislation passed that was more inclusive of those in the LGBTQ community, as well as working to change the perspective of many people who had previously taken issue with those who were gay. He accomplished this through lobbying with state senators in order to get the laws changed, as well as by being a presence in the community. His goals was to show others, as he led by example, that those who are gay are really no different than anyone else. They merely have different sexual preferences. In short, he wanted to make the general public realize that those in the LGBTQ community are human beings, and they deserve to be treated as such. He accomplished this goal by “humaning” the movement so others could see that those who are gay and those who are straight are really more alike than they are different.
He was considered by most to be the very face of the movement itself. There were even those within California state government that openly stated that he had changed the very face of the movement because of his dedication and perseverance. In short, he worked to make others realize that they too could be honest about their sexuality and he did it each and every day. Up until then, many of those same individuals had spent their lives dealing with their sexuality in secrecy. The majority of them were afraid to be honest about their feelings and they made it a point to live their lives as if they were straight when they were in fact not being true to themselves. Baker’s courage made it easier for many of them to find their own voice, and as a direct result, they began to live their lives more openly, especially in matters concerning their sexuality.
These days, the movement goes on without the help of Baker and without his encouragement, but that certainly does not mean that the movement itself is losing steam. Thanks to his efforts, more people are realizing that they too may be more at home within the LGBTQ community than they have ever been with anyone else. Things are still changing as a direct result of Baker’s efforts. Without those efforts, it’s doubtful that those who are in this community would be able to live as openly as they currently do. Therefore, they have lot to be thankful for when it comes to the actions of Gilbert Baker. In reality, the things that he accomplished will no doubt be remembered for a long time to come, especially as more and more people join the movement simply because they are free enough to do so.
10 Things You Might not Know about Gilbert Baker
1. He designed he flag that is flown at all Gay Pride parades
When you fly the traditional flag that signifies you support the LGBTQ movement, it’s important to know that Mr. Gilbert is the man responsible for creating the design of the flag. It stands as a symbol of communities who are united and who stand together to support equal treatment and rights for people of all backgrounds and from all gender associations.
2. He was a political activist
Gilbert was gay and he believed that he and everyone else had the right to be treated the same as anyone else. He took exception to unfair treatment and he lobbied with state senators to have the laws changed. He committed a good portion of his life to ensure that legislation was passed to ensure that people in the LGBTQ community could not legally be excluded.
3. Gilbert worked to change the views of those with homophobia
Mr. Baker took his activism to a variety of different levels. He also sought to reach out into communities where misconceptions led to a misunderstanding of gays. He sought to educate and enlighten those outside of the LGBTQ community to change the perspectives of those who had previously had issues with gay people. He has done much to bring understanding of those who didn’t have much experience with the gay community and to help them realize that we’re all just people and our sexuality does not make one inferior or superior to the other, and there’s nothing to fear because of these differences.
4. He maintained an active presence in the community
One thing that we can say about Gilbert Baker is that he always showed up. He was physically present in the community and he was a leader who led by example. He reached out to the general public and showed the world that people with different sexual preferences are still human beings and we all deserve to be treated equally. He served as an example that as human beings, we have more in common whether straight or gay, than differences.
5. He changed the face of the LGBTQ movement
Gilbert became a powerful symbol for the LGBTQ movement. He was so heavily involved in community and government affairs that lawmakers in California acknowledged his perseverance and dedication to the cause. He was a remarkable man who not only spoke about the things that needed to change and why, he lived his life as an example through his actions, his dedication and his determination to achieve justice for everyone. Mr. Baker loved people and he worked hard on their behalf.
6. He helped people transform their lives
There are thousands of people within the United States today that owe their new found sense of freedom and liberation to Mr. Gilbert Baker. He had a way of connecting with people who had spent years of their lives hiding their sexuality out of fear or embarrassment. His encouragement and the example that he set made it easier for them to find the courage within themselves to stop hiding who they were and to find their voice, live their lives more openly and not tuck their heads because of their sexuality. He’s helped people to start living their lives more openly and honestly and he also helped them to gain a sense of pride in who they are instead of feeling ashamed because of others in society who didn’t understand the complexities of being gay in America today. He brought enlightenment and hope to many who were in need of it.
7. He passed away in 2017
When Gilbert Baker passed away in 2017, he left a huge gap. He was 65 years of age and had spent decades as a front runner and champion for the LGBTQ cause. He showed up an as many Gay Pride parades through the country that he possibly could.
8. He left behind a legacy
Although Mr. Baker is no longer here to champion the cause of equality for all sexes, the movement is carrying on, stronger because of his life and his contributions to changing laws, educating the public and encouraging anyone struggling with their sexuality. He affected all sectors of the country and he did so in a positive way. He will be remembered for everything that he has done, and he will be missed, but he gave those who remain and renewed vigor for carrying on his work to ensure that the hard work that lies ahead will carry on.
9. He promoted unity
Gilbert Baker was a gay rights activist who sought to defend and promote equal rights and fair treatment for those in the LGBTQ community, but he did much more than that. He also helped many straight people who were struggling with their own issues with gays. People who felt uncomfortable with gay family members, friends or co-workers gained enlightenment that helped them to truly understand the need to join in the cause and ensure that all Americans are treated equally. What it comes down to is realizing that we’re all people who need each other very much. It’s more in getting past previously held notions based on fear and myth. When you get past all of the nonsense and realize there is nothing to fear, the world is a more beautiful place for all of us.
10. He was a great American
Gilbert Baker gave the world a gift. He helped to open our eyes to many truths that we didn’t realize before he began campaigning. As a nation, he did his part to teach, to stand as an example and to spread a little humanity. Because of Gilbert Baker, we’ve learned how to come together in support of one another.