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TODAY: San Diego LGBT Pride week to kick off with rainbow flag raising ceremony at SDSU

SAN DIEGO -- In advance of this weekend's festivities, San Diego LGBT Pride will kick off its 37th annual celebration today with a rainbow flag raising ceremony at San Diego State University (SDSU).

The event will begin at 11 am on the campus and the entire community is welcome to the short program, which will include the flag raising.

This will be the fourth year that San Diego Pride has partnered with SDSU for the event, which started in 2008 in honor of the 30th anniversary of the creation of the rainbow flag as a symbol of LGBT pride.

As an alternative to the pink triangle which had characterized the LGBT movement for a number of years, Gilbert Baker of San Francisco created the rainbow flag in 1978 as a more optimistic alternative to the symbol. The original flag had eight stripes, including pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Today, the flag commonly bears only six colors.

"The rainbow flag has been a symbol of the LGBT community for over 30 years," Dr. Aaron Bruce, SDSU's chief diversity officer, told SDSU NewsCenter. "The colors of the rainbow are symbolic of both the unity and diversity of the LGBT community."

The flag that will fly over the campus today was given to SDSU staff member Doug Case by Baker and includes the creator's autograph.

The lineup of speakers at the event includes Dr. Edith Benkov, SDSU professor and administrator; Ben Cartwright, LGBT community activist and SDSU alumnus; Dwayne Crenshaw, executive director of San Diego LGBT Pride and SDSU alumnus; Bruce; and others.

The ceremony will be held near the flagpole at the north end of SDSU's Campanile Walkway, facing the iconic Hepner Hall.

For more information, contact Mia Righetti at mrighetti@mail.sdsu.edu.