Before June 1978, the pink triangle, a symbol used to mark homosexuals in Nazi Germany, functioned as the symbol of the gay rights movement. But Gilbert Baker changed that.
"We needed something that was from us," Baker told NBC Out. "Flags are about power. Flags say something; they're not just symbols."
Baker said that the wanted something that would represent more than just a nation, but a "global tribe" of LGBTQ people.
Baker said he didn't have to go through a dozen designs before he settled on the rainbow. He knew the rainbow would be perfect from the start.
"We needed something that didn't have to say 'gay power' or 'LGBT,'" Baker said. "We needed something that worked beyond words and the rainbow fits perfectly."
Baker said he chose the rainbow because it was also a symbol from nature.
He said, "It expressed our diversity in terms of our gender, our races, our ages and all the ways that we're different and yet connected."
Baker got $1,000 and a 1,000 yards of fabric and headed to the local LGBTQ community center with his friends to craft the first flag.
The original flag had more colors than the current one and each color had a meaning: pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for the sun, green for nature, turquoise for art, blue for serenity and purple for spirit.
Pink, Baker explained, was not available as a color on flags when he went to a flag company to get them mass produced, and so pink was taken off the flag.
The idea behind the rainbow, Baker says towards the end of the video, is that all LGBTQ people share that singular moment when they realize who they are and live in their truth.
Baker said, "That moment is what connects us through all the generations and all our different stories."
That moment, Baker said, is "true power."