Monday, 1 October 2012

Reclaiming the rainbow.

Two facts about me:

1. I like rainbows.

2. I am not gay.

Some people seem to have a problem with these two facts because they seem to think they contradict each other. It seems like the presence of fact one questions fact two. Like fact two cancels out fact one.

For those who don’t know, the rainbow has been a symbol to the LGBT community and often comes associated with the word ‘Pride’. I’m sure you can put two and two together and not end up a million miles away from four. The rainbow has long been a symbol of hope and better things to come for a very long time, particularly in religious history. The rainbow appears in a few places in the bible as a sign of God’s presence and as a sign of hope. And there is of course the sun-shining-through-the-rain train of thought. Not hard to see why this would be adopted by a community that has had such a hard struggle with being accepted.

That being said, they don’t own it.

I have been asked quite a few times about my sexuality because I’ve been wearing something rainbowy. I will admit this has mostly been on Iona… the island does gather LGBT folk. It’s a safe and accepting place I guess. When I explained that I just like rainbows I was often met with a puzzled look. One person even asked me if I was sure. Their puzzled state puzzles me. Can’t I just like colour? If you look at how I dress you must be able to see I like colour. I appreciate that the rainbow means that for you, but can’t you appreciate that it doesn’t mean that for everyone?

If I’m being honest it annoys me that it is even a symbol for the LGBT community. Now don’t you go thinking I don’t support them. Give me a second to explain. I don’t like that they need it. Needing a sign of hope and pride in who you are shows oppression. Put it this way, there is no straight community and we do not need to march up and down streets waving big rainbow flags to get people to accept that we exist. I am glad that Pride marches happen and that is such a joyful day for everyone involved. I’m sad that they are necessary. Morgan Freeman spoke out about Black History Month in the States, and I think the same applies here. There is no White History Month. There is no I’m So Glad I’m Jewish Day. There is no Happy Hispanic Day. By purposefully singling it out they expose the need for it: racism. By having a symbol of pride it highlights the lack of acceptance.

As I say, I’m glad that people go out and campaign for the cause. I am just sad that somebody has to.

I would like it if the rainbow was just a rainbow. If it was just a selection of pretty colours that I could enjoy because they are pretty and colourful. I would like it if people did not take away the rights of others because of their own fear or ignorance. Just let people be happy, and on a purely selfish note, let me like rainbows.