Friday, August 21, 2015
Recently, at the same time as the passing of the same-sex marriage laws in The States, Facebook had a feature that let you change your avatar to add a rainbow effect. One of my friends was upset as she felt that people were changing their avatar even though they didn’t fully support the LGBTQ lifestyle. She was not impressed when I pointed out that some people just like rainbows. She felt that the rainbow was clearly a symbol of the LGBTQ lifestyle and didn’t like people co-opting it. I didn’t press it with her as it seemed a sore point but it did get me thinking about how many groups has used the rainbow as their symbol over the years. The bible has the rainbow as a covenant between God and Noah and the Jewish people after destroying the world with a flood. For the Norse, Bifrost was a rainbow bridge leading from Midgard (Earth) to Asgard. The rainbow has been linked to the Irish people – with leprechauns having their pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. Pink Floyd fans could be seen sporting the rainbow from a prism patch or even the poster based on the 1973 Dark Side of the Moon album. The LGB, then LGBT, and now LGBTQ movements have been using the rainbow flag, in a few variations since 1978. If you grew up since the eighties, you probably caught Levar Burton on Reading Rainbow which ran on PBS from 1983 to 2006. Tom Clancy wrote Rainbow 6 in 1998 about a fictional multinational counter-terrorist unit and a series of video games were based off of it. In Guiding, the first level – below Brownies, is called Rainbows in the UK. (It is Daisy in the US, and Sparks in Canada) Skittles has been running their “Taste the rainbow” campaign since 2009. In 2010 My Little Pony came out with a new series - Friendship is Magic. Included is Rainbow Dash - a pony who has a ‘cutie mark’ on her flank of a rainbow colored lightning bolt.