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  • Writer's pictureMarwan

LGBTQ+: Year 11 Winner

Bella in Year 11 wins for this passionate article about Matt Hancock's appropriation of the LGBTQ+ flag for the NHS.

Is Matt Hancock usurping the LGBTQ+ flag?

As I walked down my road, taking my daily trip to the supermarket, I began to notice the vast amount of Pride flags popping up around me. Almost every house had adorned in its window a rainbow flag. And as I looked at more and more colourful windows, I began to feel annoyed. Because I knew that these flags were not in support of LGBTQ+rights, they were in fact to show support for the NHS.

The rainbow: a meteorological phenomenon that is caused by the reflection of light in water droplets. It is synonymous with hope and happiness. A symbol that can’t be claimed by any one organisation. But the stripes of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple are un-mistakenly a combination of colours that were adopted for the LGBTQ+ community over half a century ago. So why is this pride flag being used to represent the NHS? What other symbols would be used for two different meanings? Would you take Shell’s yellow and red logo and plonk it on a campaign for a beach clean-up? Would you take Bolingbroke Academy’s Greyhounds and use them as an advertisement for a dog walking company?

Matt Hancock decided that the LGBTQ+ community did not need their flag anymore. “Listen here, Boris,” I can imagine him saying. “I have the most brilliant idea! I’m going to take the pride flag and use it to support the NHS. With a nice colourful rainbow, we’ll get the public back on our side. Like a raven to shiny metal, they will ignore our catastrophic handling of the pandemic.”

I believe that a massive lack of respect of the symbolism and meaning behind the Pride flag has been shown. There is so much history behind it, all of which has been erased. The decades of suffering, the thousands of deaths, the tens of thousands of protests, the denial of human rights.

Only now – once isolated from the LGBTQ+ community – is the rainbow so widely accepted. People are wanting to redefine the flag, taking away such a fundamental pillar of the LGBTQ+ community.

But when the Pride bus was rebranded to a rainbow NHS bus, that really made my blood boil. Pride is being erased in the name of the NHS. And it is so difficult to criticise the move because that is seen as criticising the NHS, which is absolutely not what I am doing here. If the government truly cared about the NHS, they would not waste their resources on printing rainbow flags. They would have prevented a deadly pandemic and given doctors and nurses the essential PPE to fight it.

There are so many other designs you could have gone for, Matt Hancock. But you chose the one flag that has such global significance in a time when the LGBTQ+ community need your support the most. That was a low move.

Leave the Pride flag alone! If you need someone to design you a lovely new NHS flag, you know who to call.

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