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Use of the Rainbow Flag by different groups

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bluegoblin7

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Moderator note: posts #1 - #16 originally in this thread.


No, that isn’t the point of the rainbow at all. The six-stripe flag (and the eight-stripe variant before it) was created specifically for, and by, the LGBTQ+ community. It, along with the Progress variant found on 390119, has a very specific meaning. As Plymouth Citybus found out, rebranding a Pride rainbow for the NHS doesn’t go down well.

Incidentally, it’s worth noting that there is far more to inclusivity than just sticking some stickers on the side of a train - and the more “over the top” efforts are having a much bigger impact on the industry as a whole. It’s very easy for a simple rebrand of a company logo into a rainbow to become a marketing exercise, but it needs to be backed up with education and appropriate messaging to staff and customers.

As this forum shows time and again (including comments such as this one), there is a lot more education needed across the industry, and it can still be an extremely hostile environment for LGBTQ+ staff and customers in the majority of places.

Here’s to more Trainbows like Avanti’s offering.
 
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Joel_F

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As this forum shows time and again (including comments such as this one), there is a lot more education needed across the industry, and it can still be an extremely hostile environment for LGBTQ+ staff and customers in the majority of places.

I think you misunderstood my comment - I meant that, being truly inclusive, it would be fine to include our wonderful NHS workers in the rainbow flag?
 

bluegoblin7

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Why? The Pride flag is nothing to do with the NHS. I didn’t misunderstand your comment at all - clearly you didn’t bother to read my opening comment.
 

Joel_F

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Why? The Pride flag is nothing to do with the NHS. I didn’t misunderstand your comment at all - clearly you didn’t bother to read my opening comment.
Sorry if I'm dragging this thread OT, but in my opinion, a simple set of colours should be able to represent multiple causes.
 

Joel_F

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But it’s not a “simple set of colours”, it’s the Pride Flag.
It's a rainbow flag with red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple stripes. It's used as the Pride Flag, and now it's also used as a symbol of the NHS during the pandemic. And I'm sure it can be interpreted a million other ways, without retracting from the original aim, which is to symbolise diversity and inclusiveness.
 

trentside

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I think you need to read @bluegoblin7 post again.

 

ComUtoR

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Donny_m

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Please don’t water down something that is obviously quite important to a specific community of people.
It's a rainbow flag with red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple stripes. It's used as the Pride Flag, and now it's also used as a symbol of the NHS during the pandemic. And I'm sure it can be interpreted a million other ways, without retracting from the original aim, which is to symbolise diversity and inclusiveness.
 

Joel_F

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NHS "rainbow" is 7 stripes and also uses the rainbow as an image. The Pride Flag is only 6 stipes

History of the Pride flags here : https://www.pride.com/pride/2018/6/13/complete-guide-queer-pride-flags-0#media-gallery-media-5

Not according to Plymouth Citybus! :lol:
My point is that, just like many other things, the rainbow flag is partly subjective - in that it means much more to some than others - and open to interpretation - such as thanking the NHS.

Please don’t water down something that is obviously quite important to a specific community of people.

I apologize if I offended anyone, I honestly didn't mean to, and I understand that it means a lot to many people, in the community and not.

I think I'll leave this here, this thread has gone quite off topic.
 

XAM2175

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It is Bethesda though :) In all seriousness, it is a common thing that multiple company accounts are inconsistent in the logo. It isn't really confusing but the inconsistency doesn't look great. In train terms its like GWR having their twitter be the rainbow logo and facebook being normal logo, it isn't confusing like one of them being the GWR logo and the other being the FGW logo but it doesn't look great.

The "inconsistency" is that the standard logo is deliberately being used for markets where there is significant anti-LGBTQ sentiment.

My point is that, just like many other things, the rainbow flag is partly subjective - in that it means much more to some than others - and open to interpretation - such as thanking the NHS.

I understand that you were simply curious and meant no harm, but if you (or anybody else) wish to know more then this piece on the concerns surrounding appropriation might be helpful: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamiew...y-call-out-nhs-appropriation-of-rainbow-flag/
 
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And I'm sure it can be interpreted a million other ways, without retracting from the original aim, which is to symbolise diversity and inclusiveness.
Herein lies the problem.

Symbols only have meaning in as much as how people understand them, what they think when they see them. For years the pride flag has unambiguously been a symbol of LGBT Pride, acceptance, solidarity, community and so on. So to the general public until around March this year, a rainbow symbol had only really had one meaning.

For LGBT people it's got a lot of significance, it's a sign of community that's used in all sorts of ways. In practical terms, outside businesses and social spaces like bars and cafes it's a sign that they're LGBT friendly, important because not so long ago walking into a bar as a gay couple was quite a dangerous proposition, and it still can be in some places, even more so for trans people. Wearing pride-flag symbols on badges or clothes is also a form of signalling/self-identification which helps people recognise each other within the community, similar to signs of other subcultures. It's useful socially but also as a way of recognising and protecting each other. The meaning isn't a nonspecific sense of diversity and inclusiveness, it's the international symbol of LGBT people.

If the pride flag is to be a symbol of LGBT solidarity and a symbol of support for the NHS then it loses a lot of it's effectiveness, and to be honest it has already. If you see one flying now it's hard to tell whether they're supporting the NHS or LGBT rights. Some people in my local area were even deeply offended and went on a bit of a homophobic rant when people asked them if their "NHS Rainbow" was a pride flag.

People are actually already adapting to this. LGBT people and organisations are switching to the "progress" variant of the pride flag which has the benefit of specifically including Trans and POC stripes, so to get back to the original point of this thread, Avanti have done a great job in using that version of the flag. But it's pretty irritating to have a longstanding internationally recognised LGBT symbol appropriated and damaged like this.

Sorry Joel, hope this didn't sound like a rant. I think you might have got this wrong but I do understand where you are coming from.


Also, the worst UK Trainbow is Scotrail's one. You wouldn't even notice it unless someone told you about it.
 

GusB

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No, that isn’t the point of the rainbow at all. The six-stripe flag (and the eight-stripe variant before it) was created specifically for, and by, the LGBTQ+ community. It, along with the Progress variant found on 390119, has a very specific meaning. As Plymouth Citybus found out, rebranding a Pride rainbow for the NHS doesn’t go down well.

Incidentally, it’s worth noting that there is far more to inclusivity than just sticking some stickers on the side of a train - and the more “over the top” efforts are having a much bigger impact on the industry as a whole. It’s very easy for a simple rebrand of a company logo into a rainbow to become a marketing exercise, but it needs to be backed up with education and appropriate messaging to staff and customers.

As this forum shows time and again (including comments such as this one), there is a lot more education needed across the industry, and it can still be an extremely hostile environment for LGBTQ+ staff and customers in the majority of places.

Here’s to more Trainbows like Avanti’s offering.
Could you point me to somewhere on the Interwebs where this is all properly documented? When I was young and just coming out, I had a pin badge on my jacket and I cannot remember how many colours it had. Nor did I care - it was a badge depicting a rainbow flag and that's all there was to it. By its very nature a rainbow depicts "all colours", and I really don't think it's appropriate for any one particular group to claim ownership.

Things have changed a lot since I was in my late teens/early twenties. What was simply known as the "LGB" community back then has since expanded to include the TQ+ and whatever other bits you care to add. We campaigned for years for inclusion and equalisation. We largely have it now (in legislative terms at least), although there is still a long way to go when it comes to gaining acceptance within society as a whole. Do we really need to be squabbling about who "owns" the rainbow flag when it has been used as a symbol of unity, albeit not to your own liking?
 

BayPaul

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I guess my post took this thread a little off track, but I think still on topic, as it has emphasised how important the pride flag is, and how important it is that it is done well.

For the use of the 6-stripe rainbow, unless it is a child's drawing, I do find it very lazy and insulting when it is used as an NHS support, because clearly its just a repurposed pride flag that has been used for the NHS rather than being kept until next year (a la Plymouth Citybus), with no thought whatsoever. The 'natural' seven colour rainbow is available for general use, the 6-stripe one has a specific meaning. In rail-terms, it would be like Southern deciding to rebrand, and deciding to avoid bothering to pay for consultants, renaming themselves the Gatwick & Worthing Railway, and painting their trains green with GWR on the side. You can imagine that Great Western Railway would complain about misuse of their brand, and say that it would cause confusion.

It isn't just a mark of inclusivity, it has a genuinely practical use. As an example; If I'm visiting a hotel, and see a pride flag in the window, I know that I'm not going to have an awkward conversation about single beds, in a restaurant the waiter isn't going to come around and remove the candle from our table and all these other little things that make life a little more difficult for a gay couple. That simple benefit has now been lost. I completely support the NHS, I think that we need to be more inclusive, but stealing our flag and claiming that its in the name of inclusivity is not the way to do it!
 
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Joel_F

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Herein lies the problem.

Symbols only have meaning in as much as how people understand them, what they think when they see them. For years the pride flag has unambiguously been a symbol of LGBT Pride, acceptance, solidarity, community and so on. So to the general public until around March this year, a rainbow symbol had only really had one meaning.

For LGBT people it's got a lot of significance, it's a sign of community that's used in all sorts of ways. In practical terms, outside businesses and social spaces like bars and cafes it's a sign that they're LGBT friendly, important because not so long ago walking into a bar as a gay couple was quite a dangerous proposition, and it still can be in some places, even more so for trans people. Wearing pride-flag symbols on badges or clothes is also a form of signalling/self-identification which helps people recognise each other within the community, similar to signs of other subcultures. It's useful socially but also as a way of recognising and protecting each other. The meaning isn't a nonspecific sense of diversity and inclusiveness, it's the international symbol of LGBT people.

If the pride flag is to be a symbol of LGBT solidarity and a symbol of support for the NHS then it loses a lot of it's effectiveness, and to be honest it has already. If you see one flying now it's hard to tell whether they're supporting the NHS or LGBT rights. Some people in my local area were even deeply offended and went on a bit of a homophobic rant when people asked them if their "NHS Rainbow" was a pride flag.

People are actually already adapting to this. LGBT people and organisations are switching to the "progress" variant of the pride flag which has the benefit of specifically including Trans and POC stripes, so to get back to the original point of this thread, Avanti have done a great job in using that version of the flag. But it's pretty irritating to have a longstanding internationally recognised LGBT symbol appropriated and damaged like this.

Sorry Joel, hope this didn't sound like a rant. I think you might have got this wrong but I do understand where you are coming from.


Also, the worst UK Trainbow is Scotrail's one. You wouldn't even notice it unless someone told you about it.

:)@GlitterUnicorn no need to apologize! It's great to completely understand that the use of the 6 colour rainbow for the NHS is misleading and insulting to a lot of people. Thanks for taking the time to explain this
 

supervc-10

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I'm a big fan of Avanti's new Trainbow. Looks fantastic and to be including the Progress flag is even better. Hands down the best one out there, in my opinion.

Regarding the 'appropriation' of the 6 colour flag for the NHS- I think a lot of that is simply that if you go and search for a rainbow flag on Amazon then you'll get a 6-colour pride flag, not a 7-colour 'complete' rainbow. I don't think it's malicious. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't try and do something about it- I like the use of the rainbow symbol for the NHS and the Pride flag for the LGBTQ+ community.

I think a lot of people will not have noticed that there is a difference between the 6 and 7 colour variants- just now looking at the emojis I tried to insert above, Microsoft have a 6-colour rainbow as well as a 6-colour pride flag. It's one of the reasons why I like the Progress flag- it's so clearly more than just a generic rainbow.

Edit: This forum does not support emoji! However I have linked to the Emojipedia pages for the respective emoji.
 

tramdan

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The rainbow Pride flag, in addition to the BPOC Pride flag, Trans flag, Progress flag and others are readily established symbols in their own right. To appropriate those symbols for other causes is grossly disrespectful, whether intended or not, to those who's identities they represent.

Use of an actual rainbow pictogram for the NHS is fine, indeed it's great, but the rainbow flag already represents something, and its absolutely not right to dilute that!
 

adrock1976

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I have seen some posts above referencing a six colour rainbow.

Has art or science lessons nowadays changed, because when I was at primary school many, many years ago, a rainbow has seven colours (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet).

It would be like referring to a Cornish pasty being made east of the Tamar, which is not Cornwall.

PS I am supportive of equal rights for the LGBT community.
 

talltim

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From reading the same threads, the point of the 6 colour Pride rainbow flag is that it isn’t a traditional rainbow, hence it’s obvious when it’s used in other circumstances.
Of course there aren’t really only seven colours either, it’s a complete sweep through the whole (visible) spectrum (do rainbows have ultra violet and infra red elements?)
 

JamesT

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Of course there aren’t really only seven colours either, it’s a complete sweep through the whole (visible) spectrum (do rainbows have ultra violet and infra red elements?)

Yes, the refraction of light isn’t limited to the visible spectrum, so there will be some of those wavelengths. (Though of course you can’t see them as they’re not visible by definition). The limiting factor will be how easily those wavelengths are absorbed by water droplets before they can get to you which narrows down the spread somewhat.
 

alxndr

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I have seen some posts above referencing a six colour rainbow.

Has art or science lessons nowadays changed, because when I was at primary school many, many years ago, a rainbow has seven colours (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet).

It would be like referring to a Cornish pasty being made east of the Tamar, which is not Cornwall.

PS I am supportive of equal rights for the LGBT community.

That's almost entirely the point. The "six coloured rainbow" isn't intended to be a representation of a rainbow, as such, it's a symbol used by the LGBT community that happens to look similar to a rainbow. Indeed, some of the earliest variants contained pink and turquoise which are certainly not traditional rainbow colours. More recently there's been the "progress" flag, including black and brown, which again aren't traditional rainbow colours. It's more of a multicoloured flag that has some similarities to a rainbow than intending to be a rainbow.

Representations of a rainbow have been used to show support for healthcare workers recently, which has caused some confusion.
 

Lockwood

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I like the use of the rainbow symbol for the NHS and the Pride flag for the LGBTQ+ community.

I do note that the rainbow symbol is rendered on my phone as a 6 colour arc.

I have also seen rainbow NHS badges and lanyards pre-covid. Worn by LGBT staff. I would imagine a lot of the "thanks NHS" rainbow stuff is stock that was originally aimed for staff.
 

greatvoyager

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:)@GlitterUnicorn no need to apologize! It's great to completely understand that the use of the 6 colour rainbow for the NHS is misleading and insulting to a lot of people. Thanks for taking the time to explain this
The use of the rainbow for NHS did puzzle me initially, as I wondered if anyone would get confused by it.
 
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