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LGBT rainbow poppy causes controversy as critics say it disrespects veterans

People are attempting to introduce the “rainbow poppy” for Remembrance Day.
Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal, QC

Across Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, millions commemorate the sacrifices made by their respective armies and the great sacrifices made in the fight against tyranny. They do so by wearing a commemorative poppy, made of paper or fabric and traditionally made with red material and a black centre.

Sales of poppies in Canada go towards the Legion Poppy Fund to provide financial assistance to veterans, as they do in the other aforementioned countries.

There already exists certain variances of poppies, including a purple one that remembers animals who served in wartime, namely horses and dogs, of which there were large numbers of casualties.

And now, some are attempting to introduce the “rainbow poppy.” A Rainbow-coloured lapel pin that was made with the intention of honouring fallen soldiers of the LGBT community during armed conflict.

The pin, which is being sold on eBay for £6 (about $10), and many are on board with the idea of the rainbow-pin.

“I want a #rainbowpoppy, gay servicemen and women were dishonourably discharged or ever killed, even though their sacrifice was the same. Alan Turing is a key example. There has been a purple poppy out for YEARS now… so get the hell over it,” said Twitter user Nathanial Howarth.

With Twitter divided on the topic, as per usual, some quick reading on the topic should be done. According to the Royal Canadian Legion, altering the poppy is a sign of disrespect. Says the Legion’s website: “The poppy is the sacred symbol of remembrance and should not be defaced in any way.”

Though the purple poppy could be propped up as a prime example of “defacing” a poppy, the purple poppy does actually occur in nature, unlike the rainbow variant.

Others pointed out that other variances, like the black poppy that commemorates African and Caribbean allies, and that having a rainbow poppy is appropriate. Again, this is thwarted by the fact that black poppies exist in nature.

Not only this, but some are beginning to feel as though LGBT Pride movements have started to encroach on the day-to-day of others. Twitter user @Chibbard01, pointed out that LGBT pride already has its time and place in the year. “Pride has a whole month to raise awareness. Soldiers who died and fought for us have one MINUTE a year. Get some respect!”

The month of June was selected to represent LGBT pride month due to the Stonewall riots, riots which were sparked by the raiding of a New York gay bar run by the Genovese crime family.

There is also an LGBT history month observed in October throughout the United States and Canada.

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Roberto Wakerell-Cruz
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