A Poppy Splashed In A Pride Rainbow Colors Sparks LGBTQ+ Debate
It's a little depressing that this is still a topic of discussion in 2022. This 2019, an image of a rainbow poppy flower started a massive online argument that has enraged many people; a fight that is still raging and growing on platforms like Twitter and Instagram.
This is one of those cases where the level of ignorance and misunderstanding that LGBTQ+ persons still encounter in today's society is highlighted. Although the situation has improved in the UK, prejudice and ignorance still exist, as evidenced by this anecdote.
I should point out that these rainbow poppies were not genuine Royal British Legion poppies; instead, the merchant made and sold them on eBay. The Royal British Legion does not make poppies adorned specifically for LGBTQ+ fallen troops, but it does make a special purple poppy to honor the animals lost in the war and a black poppy to remember the contributions of African, Black, Caribbean, and Pacific Islanders.
It all started with a screenshot of an eBay rainbow poppy listed on this website by some seller that went popular on social media. For £6, an eBay user was selling a personalized poppy with rainbow Pride colors. When word of the item spread on social media, the vendor was met with almost immediate criticism, with several users claiming that "there doesn't need to be a homosexual version of everything."
The vendor claims that the negative comments became too much for them to handle and that they were compelled to alter their listing with the following message:
“PLEASE STOP THE VILE AND RUDE MESSAGES THAT YOU ARE SENDING ME!
“I DONT MEAN TO OFFEND ANYONE
“I HAVE ONLY ONE AGENDA AND THAT IS TO MAKE MONEY FOR A CHARITY
“I have sold thousands of variations of these poppy badges over several years and everyone seems to be very happy with them.”
According to PinkNews, LGBTQ+ organizations were required to state that they are not "hijacking" the poppy tradition (I believe I read "not everything has to be gay" during my research), but that they embrace increasing visibility of queer people's contributions to the wars. Many LGBTQ+ persons believe that queer troops' participation in World War 1 and World War 2 is almost unrecognized.
I applaud all LGBTQ+ people who have dared to speak out in the face of such prejudice. I have to admit, out of all the responses I've read, I think this tweet by Twitter user @AlexGough_ provides the clearest picture (and not just because I despise football). He says in his letter:
“The British legion sells Poppies with football teams on them and no one cares, We [LGBTQ+ people] don’t want to make Remembrance Day all about the LGBT movement. Gay men fought for this country but nah Swansea city deffo did more for the war effort. Do you care or are you just homophobic?”
I'm a gay man who doesn't need a rainbow poppy (though I understand why other people do); for me, this narrative isn't about whether or not a rainbow poppy should exist. For me, the most important takeaway from this story is an awareness of the massive amount of anti-LGBTQ+ hate and aggressiveness raging on social media – all this news article did was cast a spotlight on it.
Please consider before you type because I'm sure there are young LGBTQ+ persons out there who will be affected by your words.