The widespread use of the rainbow as a ‘thank you’ to NHS workers during the pandemic has upset LGBT activists, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed.
Scottish Government documents show that during minutes of a steering group set up to oversee the introduction of the recent NHS Scotland Pride Badge scheme participants said that the meaning of the rainbow had been “distorted” by the pandemic.
The scheme, which launched last month, generated controversy after it was revealed that health boards would be encouraged to track the number of wearers “and basic info on staff groups wearing the badge”.
The minutes, taken from a meeting in November last year, state “The rainbow badge has been distorted by the use of the rainbow flag during the pandemic.”
It continued: “We need to have a strong campaign behind the roll out to make sure people truly understand what these badges represent.”
Prominent homosexual rights campaigner Peter Tatchell told The Times that the NHS was guilty of “blatant cultural appropriation” for using the same six-coloured symbol. He called on the health service to create its own symbol.
In an article for Forbes last year, LGBT commentator Jamie Wareham highlighted the strong feelings surrounding the ‘appropriation’ but acknowledged that the rainbow has been a symbol for other communities for many years.
He said: “Not least in Christianity where the rainbow denotes God’s covenant–a connection between God and all living creatures–with Noah”.
You can read more about the true meaning of the rainbow here.