RIP, Gilbert Baker

We’re sad to learn of the death of Gilbert Baker, taken too young at just 65 years of age. Gilbert, if you didn’t know, was the creator of the Rainbow Flag which has become an iconic symbol of the LGBT community.

Gilbert Baker

The LGBT community play a key role in Second Life, just as they do in real life, and while I would identify myself as heterosexual (even though such identifiers should be redundant in the 21st century) I’ve gained a deeper understanding of LGBT loves, fears and hopes through my friendship with LGBT people in Second Life, and have spent quite a bit of time over the years dancing and chatting in gay sims (and in my younger days in London, doing a bit of dancing in gay nightclubs because that was where the real fun was. Indeed, the men in gay clubs had a deeper understanding and respect for women. In some other locations there was the fear of being assaulted by some lairy, beery male who didn’t understand that no meant no, but a gay club always, always, always felt safe for me.

The rainbow flag has become a symbol of LGBT people. Indeed, there were times when I would have identified it not just as symbolic of the LGBT community but of ‘safe haven’ in a manner in which a biker bar with a US confederate flag couldn’t hope to do.

Ori and Liz wave their rainbow flags to identify with the LGBT community in (and out of) SL

We have, I hope, been strong supporters of the LGBT community in the past, reporting on gay naturist sims in SL and covering some elements of the LGBT community where it has had resonance for the naturist community as well. As naturists, we’ve identified strongly with the LGBT community as fellow ‘outsiders’ to society. I’m not suggesting that we, naturists, have ever endured quite the same level of social phobia and hate crime as gay folk, but I can assure you that amongst the naturist community there is a strong feeling of a bond between ourselves and LGBT people. Indeed, there is a strong crossover between the two communities, a sense of solidarity and a deep understanding of tolerance and respect for others deeply embedded in both communities.

You can pick up your own rainbow flag at the World Peace Flag Garden, for free.

RIP, Gilbert, and thank you for the symbol you gave to the world.

Ella

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