Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Man Who Kept the Rainbow Flag Free

The rainbow flag is known all over the world as a symbol of LGBT rights and acceptance. Here in San Francisco, a huge rainbow flag waves over the Castro District. But that flag came close to being a trademarked symbol that could have kept it from public use. In 1978 Gilbert Baker, the person who created the flag, came to the Castro law office of a young LGBT civil rights attorney in private practice named Matt Coles. Baker explained that he created the flag for everyone and wanted it to remain free for public use. He needed an attorney to represent him to challenge an attempt from an advocacy organization to trademark it. He didn't have any money, but Matt agreed to represent him. Today, the rainbow flags that symbolize Pride Month are a symbol for the people.
Read the rather wonderful profile of Matt Coles by Danielle Riendeau of the Northern California Chapter of the ACLU (proud card-carrying member here).

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