Discussion: The Rainbow Poppy

This may get controversial and it has already caused arguments between my friends in real life. Here is some background, the poppy (red and black) is a symbol of remembrance for world war 1. The “rainbow poppy” is supposed to represent the LGBT soldiers who lost their lives or played a part in the war. Some people agree with it, but a lot of people disagree with it as they feel the red and black is something that should not be changed as it represents everyone, not just a specific group of people. There are other poppies which are different colours too, like the purple one for animals. The people who agree with the poppy, believe that people are only angry about the rainbow poppy as an excuse to hide their homophobia.

I want to know what you guys think of this, none of the above statement is my opinion, it has been accumulated from observation and talking to people on both sides. I will state my views throughout.

this is an example of the poppy in question


Hmmm I don’t know what to say here tbh


World War 2?

Well, everyone fought in World War 2, people of colour, women, and LGBT folks.

I believe that the rainbow poppy could represent everyone, but then again… It’s up to interpretation.


No it’s for world war 1 :blush:

Yeah the rainbow could be inclusive to everybody but I’ve seen a lot of people saying that it is just for the LGBT soldiers.

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The pre existing red poppy is representive of all who died.

Ohh. The Great War.

I honestly didn’t know LGBT soldiers fought in that war.


It was at a time where being LGBT was illegal. Alan Turing, a key person in the victory of world war one was LGBT, he was forced to undergo conversion therapy because he was arrested after being caught with another male. He eventually commited suicide (although that is disputed some believe murder).

I probably should have stated that in the original post.


Oh man, I despise conversion therapy.

That was very informative btw

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I’ve been doing some research :sweat_smile:

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Surprised that there was many LGBT people in history. I only know a couple from before the 60s

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I don’t see anything wrong with this…? I think it’s a nice way of remembering LGBT soldiers especially as we don’t learn a lot about the LGBT community in history. Also why are people acting like the original red poppy won’t still be available?!


I’m just neutral about this because I get that red signified the blood of the British soldiers but let’s all be equal here because there were definitely LGBT soldiers back then.


I’ll respond to you two using views from the other side, these are not my views, just the views of those I spoke to.

The red and black poppy sybmolises everybody because it represents blood, loss of life and new beginings. Poppies grew on the fields where the soldiers had fallen. Therefore, to make the rainbow poppy specific to LGBT, is making that group stand out as opposed to representing everybody like the red poppy does.

I also don’t know whether the rainbow poppy still donates the money to charity.


I’m not sure. LGBT+ people are still people, and if the red poppy represents everyone who fought in the war, it’s not that necessary. However, I don’t see anything wrong with it otherwise. :heart::orange_heart::yellow_heart::green_heart::blue_heart::purple_heart:


Something else I will say is more detail about the other poppies available. Like the purple one for animals. That one doesn’t generate anywhere near as much controversy so people claim that all the negative opinions about the rainbow poppy is based on homophobia. I’m not too sure what the other colours represent, there is a black and white one too. Yet it only seems to be the rainbow one which generates the most arguments.

One person said that the poppy colour you get makes it more personal to you. Other people responded with “the red poppy can still be personal to you, you know why you are wearing it and to the other people who see it, they will percieve you as being supportive of anyone. You don’t need a different colour poppy for that”


Whilst the symbolism might be nice, I think this is pretty sad at the same time, as it’s meddling with something significant. The traditional red and black poppy symbolises all soldiers. The rainbow one doesn’t.
Simple as.
It wasn’t created to replace the red one for equality with all fallen soldiers, it wasn’t like an upgrade, this was created for the ones who fit into one category. End of. You can’t just fit every one else in to make it valid to use for some.
Not all soldiers were LGBT, they were all human.
I think this is pretty disrespectful to an old tradition. Especially as you’re waving something new over something old. It renders the symbol for all, as a thing of the past and dulls down its meaning and character.
Not everything, or everyone, needs to be turned into a bloody symbol. Nor does there have to be labels.
In many places, back in those days, it was illegal to be gay for instance, a crime punishable by prison. Not only that, but they would have been cast out in many ways from people, families, friends, society. In some aspects, it’s disrespectful to now segregate them and label those who aren’t here anymore, just because people in the modern world act differently, and are allowed to be more forward with who they are.
Let sleeping dogs lie. Don’t turn death and respect into a parade for modern behaviour.
The red poppy is for everyone, for who they were, and what they did. It isn’t for one part of them.
Some things should be left. This is one of them, in my opinion.


Just to clear up any confusion, the red and black poppy is the red poppy. Red on the petals, black in the middle that’s the standard poppy.

There is also a black one though which is the one you found.


Haha, I need to learn to read, I thought she said something about the completely black one :woman_facepalming:

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Lol I get why you thought that, at first glance I would probably think that too.

Also here are some pictures of the other poppies, there are more but I’m going to research what they are about.

red poppy


purple poppy


black poppy


Remembrance Day marks the end of the First world war – 11th November – but it’s come to represent both World Wars!

Yep! And the same with WW1, too! Well, not women as much (they were usually nurses), but they did have all-Indian and all-Caribbean divisions in the British Army because of the British Empire. In fact, Britain’s involvement significantly contributed to the status as a World War!

This term isn’t really used anymore! Considering that if you’re talking about magnitude, the Second World War was “greater”, as more people died. More bombing. More civilian deaths. And “great” as in wonderful? Well, there was nothing great about it!

LGBTQ+ soldiers have always been part of every army! But this was decades before you were able to come out as gay or be in a gay relationship openly. The LGBTQ+ soldiers would have had to hide their sexuality and/or gender identity. They might have even gotten married to the opposite sex or ignored their gender dysphoria entirely!

As well as the constant bombings causing shellshock, I bet that this significantly contributed to the poor mental health of the time! Imagine having to live your whole life denying or even feeling ashamed of who you are!

Alan Turning was only 2 when WW1 started and 6 when it ended! He was born in 1912! :stuck_out_tongue: But he did help to crack the German Enigma Code during WW2! Everything else you said about him is right, though!

I think this is a common misconception that a lot of people share. As being LGBTQ+ isn’t a choice and it’s just how people are, there aren’t actually a higher percentage of LGBTQ+ people around today. They’re just more open and proud of who they are now than before.

I’m not sure about that! As a pacifist, I used to wear the white poppy and it caused so much controversy! I used to wear both at school, because the red was compulsory for the remembrance assembly. I used to wear them crossing over one another, but my teachers would shout and make me take the white one off!

Personally, I disagree with this stance. I don’t think people who wear the rainbow poppy are necessarily trying to make it seem like the LGBTQ+ soldiers are more important or anything like that. I would personally wear one, as a historian, as a talking point. So that we can chat about the fact that LGBTQ+ soldiers tend to get forgotten. The red poppy signifying all soldiers isn’t going to go away or be replaced. We’ve had over 100 years of honouring them! But I think that by bringing attention to the LGBTQ+ aspect, I think what we’re doing is drawing attention to the fact that they often get left out of history by historians and making sure that doesn’t happen in the future with any wars that may happen (god forbid).