The first festival came about because Aaron Casserly Stewart, Parsons city commissioner in 2017, had wanted to honor Gilbert Baker, the creator of the Rainbow Flag. Gilbert conceived of the idea for the Gilbert Baker Film Festival with a group of his friends. The Festival was to be a celebration of LGBTQIA+ Pride in his old stomping grounds of Parsons, KS. Knowing that Parsons is a town in rural Southeast Kansas, Gilbert wanted to have an event that could showcase the accomplishments of the LGBTQIA+ community without a parade. Unfortunately, Gilbert died in 2017 before the first film festival was held. The main goal of the Gilbert Baker Film Festival (GBFF) committee is to hold a festival worthy of Gilbert’s worldwide legacy. As of 2020 the festival will be held annually on the Third Weekend in September (Thursday, Friday and Saturday). We want to create awareness. The WHERE WE CALL HOME: LGBT PEOPLE IN RURAL AMERICA report published by M.A.P. in April 2019 “suggests that between 2.9 million and 3.8 million LGBT people—or 15-20% of the total U.S. LGBT population—live in rural areas around the country.” The Gilbert Baker Film Festival is held in the heart of Rural America.