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Original Pride Flag and Sewing Machine Used to Make It?


A Tumblr post authentically shows the original Pride flag and the sewing machine used to make it.


An archived Tumblr post from user @dreamycastaway shows a picture of a museum display with what appears to be the original Pride flag from artist Gilbert Baker in 1978, along with the sewing machine he used to make it. The flag in the display case contains eight colors, as opposed to the six that are seen in modern Pride flags. 

According to a blog post from the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health, “A BRIEF HISTORY OF OUR LGBTQIA2-S PRIDE FLAG,” turquoise and pink were removed from the original design because it made the flags expensive to mass produce. The post states: 

“Baker and (Lynn) Segerblom’s flag debuted at the Gay Freedom Day Parade in SF in 1978. Each of the original eight colors had their own unique symbolism. Hot pink: sex; Red: life; Orange: healing; Yellow: sunlight; Green: nature; Turquoise: magic and art; Indigo: serenity; and Violet: spirit. The original flag’s hot pink and turquoise stripes were soon removed because of difficulty manufacturing and/or dying the fabric, resulting in the six-color rainbow flag we are familiar with today.” 

After running the picture through Google reverse-image, we found the same photo featured in a Metro Weekly article entitled “Newseum’s ‘Rise Up’ and the Hamilton’s Newsroom Suite offer memorable LGBTQ experiences.” When compared, the two were essentially identical. The Metro Weekly article captioned the photo, “2019 Rise Up exhibit at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.” 

The Tumblr post, in other words, was accurate. 

Facebook post from The Royal Vauxhall Tavern on July 1, 2019, shows the same picture of the flag and sewing machine that appears in the Tumblr post. The user captioned the photo, “The original Pride flag and the sewing machine it was made on – by Gilbert Baker. Displayed at Oakland Museum of California: Queer California.” 

The Oakland Museum of California’s website shows that the exhibit “Queer California: Untold Stories” was on display from April 13-Aug. 11, 2019. 

An article from Peppermint Magazine entitled, “The Art of Resistance – How Sewing is Stitched into Pride’s History,” also uses a photo of the same display, primarily focusing on the sewing machine that can be seen in the Tumblr post. In the background of the photo, the silk flag can be seen, with the turquoise and pink stripe found in the background of the Tumblr post. 

The caption under the photo reads, “GILBERT BAKER’S SEWING MACHINE ON DISPLAY AT WASHINGTON DC’S NEWSEUM’S RISE UP EXHIBITION.” Freedom Forum posted about the “Rise Up” exhibition on its website, as well, where it states, “The exhibit ran from Mar 8 – Dec. 31, 2019, at the Newseum and has traveled to several other venues around the U.S.” 

The sewing machines in the Tumblr post and the Peppermint Magazine article appear to be the same Singer machine, which is featured in various photos of at least three different exhibitions around the U.S., one in Oakland, one in San Francisco, and one in Washington, D.C, that took place in June, 2019. Due to the various angles of these photos of the same exhibit, we assert that this image is not AI-generated. 

The history of the flag’s changing colors and Baker’s signature at the top of the flag with the words “original colors” in the Tumblr post help corroborate that this was the original flag and sewing machine, which circulated in various museum exhibits around the country in 2019.

For these reasons, we label the claim as “True.”


Blog, LACDMH. “A Brief History of Our LGBTQIA2-S Pride Flag.” Department of Mental Health, 16 June 2022,

Log in or Sign up to View. Accessed 6 June 2024.

Peppermint. “The Art of Resistance – How Sewing Is Stitched into Pride’s History.” Peppermint Magazine, 9 June 2022,

“Queer California: Untold Stories.” Oakland Museum of California (OMCA), Accessed 6 June 2024.

Shriver, Marie. “‘Rise Up’: The Exhibit.” Freedom Forum, 8 Mar. 2019,

“Who Died and Made Me the DM?” Tumblr, Accessed 6 June 2024.

Hereford, André. “Newseum’s ‘Rise Up’ and The Hamilton’s Newsroom Suite Offer Memorable LGBTQ Experiences.” Metro Weekly, 27 June 2019,

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