‘Short Thoughts’ Series #2 What’s in a rainbow?

Amidst the madness we’ve somehow adopted the rainbow as the collective symbol for keyworkers and the NHS. Once commonly a symbol for hope or peace, rainbows have a longstanding association with positivity and the spread of joy. There’s the old cliche of these colourful arcs forming as something of a beacon after the supposed negative event of rain.

But – crucially – they’re also the designated symbol for the LGBTQIA+ community. In modern society, I’d argue, we’re more likely to associate the rainbow with this community than we are for anything spiritual or biblical.

And yet I’ve looked on as a seemingly unending stream of merchandise has cropped up during this time, as Brits continue to peddle the rainbow revolution. T-shirts with rainbows on are one thing. But *actual Pride flags* are being touted as “Thank you NHS” flags on ebay. Someone in my local Facebook group is selling rainbow awareness ribbons “for the NHS”. I’m not angry, I don’t think. Just perplexed.

Will the rainbow-touting straights of the world realise that, to most people, they look like Pride activists? Would they mind? I’m not one to make blanket assumptions, but I feel they would. Because a proportion of this group – not all – are the Nigel Farages of the world. The jingoists, the “Make Britain Great Again” troupe, the Straight White British Sensible Man brigade who wouldn’t be seen dead supporting other sexualities and gender orientations.

What will happen to the merchandise when this is all over, and it’s no longer cool to care about the NHS? Here’s an idea. Maybe we could donate all the rainbow stuff to homeless or impoverished LGBT+ folk who are STILL marginalised, abused, and unsafe, simply because of who they are. Just a thought…

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