Rainbow Flag

Red means life. But what is a life when you aren’t living? Because how can you live when you are not being true to yourself? How can you live when you are constantly deleting text messages before your parents seem them? How can you live when you are afraid to say no to the boy who asked you out because he might tell everyone you’re a lesbian? How can you live when you’re afraid to hold your girlfriend’s hand in the park because someone might see and tell your mother? How can you live when you are forced to use the bathroom that isn’t for you just because a judge says it is? How can you live when images and stereotypes and ideals of how you should feel, of how you should look, of how you should love, of who you should love, are constantly shoved down your throat until you can’t breathe and the only thing you can say is “I’m sorry”? This isn’t living.

Orange means healing. Healing from the words, from the looks and names and blows and your father’s hands around your throat. Healing from the bruises and cuts and aches and pains, letting the only thing left of the hurt be the tear stains. But a wound that keeps opening never heals, it gets infected and makes your whole body, your whole soul sick. They tell us to take the high road but sometimes the high road only brings us closer to the hurt.

Yellow is sunlight, but sunlight can only shine when there are no clouds in the way, when there are no obstacles blocking your path and making it even harder to see the light. Our obstacles are ever present, mansplaining, bigotry-preaching, backward-thinking, hate-spreading, love-blocking losers, who think their way is the only way. These people who choose to be obstacles are blocking our sunlight, our growth, our photosynthesis, our livelihood. They say there’s only a crack so the light can get it but where can the light come from if the clouds are in the way? The only thing that can get through the crack is the rain, the sleet, the hail, the hate.

Green is nature and I don’t know about you but I don’t feel at one with the world around us if I am hiding my own nature, if I am replacing my nature with someone else’s, something someone else has carved out for me, a mold crafted by someone who didn’t know how to make more than one kind of measurement. I can’t be told to be true to myself when who I am is “against nature”.

Blue is harmony. Harmony? Harmony with what? With who? “You can marry who you want now isn’t that enough? Why do you guys always want more?” You expect me to be in harmony with that? You expect me to be in harmony with the world when a boy in North Carolina is beat up for using the “wrong” bathroom? You expect me to be in harmony with the world when gay men are being abducted and tortured and murdered in ch-esh-nee-ah? You expect me to be in harmony with the world when one of the first disney movie with gay representation is banned in an Alabama theater because it’s “wrong”? You expect me to be in harmony with the world when any LGBT+ content is flagged as “inappropriate” on YouTube? No. No i will not be in harmony with this. I will be as dissonant as I can be until everyone gets together in put this world in tune.

Purple is spirit. What spirit? The beaten down spirit of the girl in Florida who can’t take her girlfriend to prom? The oppressed spirit of Russian lgbt+ people who are attacked when they try to protest for their rights? Every hate crime takes a piece of our spirit and adds it to the collection of oppressed hearts and souls of those who dare to be different, of those who don’t fit the mold, of those who create their own mold. Our spirits are strong but will they always be?

But rainbow is something else. It heals and it lights up the dark. It reminds you that you are not against nature, that you make your own nature. It gives you something to harmonize with, something to connect to, something that understands. It gives you a new piece of spirit because if something so beautiful can come out of such dark clouds and rain then why can’t we? Rainbow is us.

-- Jasleen G., 15