Gilbert Baker, the activist who designed the now widely recognized rainbow symbol of the LGBTQ community, died on March 30. Since Baker's passing, an outpouring of anecdotes and venerations have appeared across social media to remember the icon. Fellow activist Cleve Jones shared a particularly moving tribute to Baker on Twitter. Unfortunately, some Twitter users exploited Baker's death as a vehicle for attacking the LGBTQ community - but we'll get to that.
My dearest friend in the world is gone. Gilbert Baker gave the world the Rainbow Flag; he gave me forty years of love and friendship. pic.twitter.com/titd3XZ0zD
- Cleve Jones (@CleveJones1) March 31, 2017
Baker designed the rainbow flag in 1978 for a gay rights protest; he dyed it by hand and sewed together makeshift fabric to create the iconic emblem. According to The New York Times, each stripe was symbolic. "The first flags had eight colors, each stripe carrying its own significance: pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sun, green for nature, turquoise for magic, blue for peace and purple for spirit," reported the Times.
But Bryan Fischer, a conservative radio host, appeared to view Baker's death as an opportunity to accuse the LGBTQ community of "cultural appropriation." While it's unclear what exactly Fischer means by cultural appropriation - Christianity is not a culture - he is evidently suggesting that the LGBTQ community "stole" the religion's emblem.
Worst example of cultural appropriation ever: LGBTs stole the rainbow from God. It's his. He invented it. Gen. 9:11-17. Give it back.
- Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) April 2, 2017
Twitter users were swift in their rebuke of Fischer's opinion and jumbled logic. Below are a few of the many clapbacks.
@BryanJFischer oh no, the loathsome gays, they're hoarding all the light refracted through water vapor in the entire world!!!
- Nate Bethea (@inthesedeserts) April 2, 2017
- Brandon 🇨🇦 (@HiimBrandonK) April 2, 2017
- Hannah (@teaforpterosaur) April 2, 2017
@BryanJFischer Also: Phoenix Suns stole god's sun!
Tampa Bay Lightning stole lightning!
Oklahoma City Thunder stole Thunder!
omg when will the horror stop
- Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) April 2, 2017
It's worth noting that Baker always refused to trademark his flag's design. And might we remind Mr. Fischer that no one invented the rainbow? It's just light refracting through water droplets.