Poppies

No matter what the colour or the individual, it’s important to remember

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November 11th. It is a day of reflection and remembrance, to pay respect to those who have served and died in conflict. The poppy is the symbol of what it means to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Coming from the battlefields of Flanders, it gave hope that peace and tranquillity could grow from the insanity of war.

The poppies in those fields blossomed once the fighting came to an end in 1918. The battlefields of the Great War went from being doused in the crimson blood of millions to being scattered with the red of the poppy.

The red poppy was the only poppy available to purchase from Royal British Legion for many years. The money would go back to the Legion to help those men and women affected by working in the armed forced.

Social media has been divided in the past few days with the appearance of a rainbow poppy. This is a single picture of a poppy which has had little to no attention from people wanting to purchase it. It is said to be for LGBT soldiers who have fought in wars. Like so many other things in 2019, people are quick to jump on the bandwagon that the LGBT community are attempting to ‘hijack’ remembrance Sunday. This poppy is not the first non-red poppy for people to be made aware of.

In more recent years, white poppies have appeared for to represent a symbol of pacifism. It is for those who don’t agree with the methods of war but still want to respect those who have been killed in conflict.

Then you have the black poppy. This poppy is to remember African, Black and Caribbean soldiers who have fought in conflict. These are groups of soldiers which are often overlooked, particularly during the First and Second World Wars. Neither black nor white poppies have been accused of ‘hijacking’ Remembrance Day, so why has the single picture of one LGBT rainbow poppy?

It seems to sum up the toxic attitude which is directed towards people within the LGBT community. Everything which is done to promote the rights and to clamp down on homophobia is met with criticism and often offensive language. Sexuality shouldn’t come into when it comes to talking about conflict, yet it is understandable. The recognition for LGBT soldiers who have fought for their countries when, up until very recently, their lifestyle was deemed perverted and criminal is important. It is not being shoved down our throats whatsoever, but narrow-minded people behind a keyboard will use any excuse abuse members of the LGBT community. Everything is blown out of proportion online at present, this is no exception.

The red poppy is the only one which is being sold and where profits go to the RBL. However, the hatred towards even considering any other poppy is completely unnecessary. Plenty of LGBT soldiers have fought and died for Britain throughout the years, most noticeable being Alan Turing. This man helped to crack the German Enigma code and shorten WW2 by at least two years, saving potentially millions of lives in the process. How did his country reward him? Force him to suicide through their barbaric criminalisation of homosexuality.

Remembrance Day is very important to me. I feel it is very important to consider what men and women have gone through when their country has called upon them. The glorification of war and use of war rhetoric, which is being used far too much in present day politics, should not overlook the human cost of conflict. The leaders of this country have sent hundreds and thousands of its own people to war, many of which have been affected. It is time for people from all walks of life and lifestyle to be given the same level of respect.

Do not let the rainbow poppy and the reaction to it change cloud your judgement, the LGBT community have played a major role in conflict over the centuries. It’s just society has prevented them from being open about who they are.

Written by

I am a journalist with an honours degree from Coventry University. Passionate writing about politics, culture, sport, society and more

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