The rainbow flag, a symbol of equality


In the current social climate, it's easy to forget that many people are for LGBTQI people's rights. That most actually are. Most people think you should be able to be who you are and love who you want.

It became extra evident this week when the Swedish Democrats, who govern in Hörby, wanted the municipality to stop flying the rainbow flag. The Moderates in Hörby were behind the proposition. It was pandemonium. People protested outside the town hall and the church opposite raised their rainbow flag. The municipality of Hörby’s Instagram flow was filled with rainbow flags. The Open Moderates wrote a Facebook post where they asked the Moderates in Hörby to reconsider, which they did. The proposition is now unlikely to pass, due to all loud protests.

The Swedish Democrats have a lot of power in some municipalities. A power that they use to counteract LGBTQI people’s rights. It’s about so much more than the flag. The Swedish Democrats are, on a local and regional level, a party that consistently counteracts LGBTQI rights. Their mission seems to be to cut all contributions to LGBTQI organisations and meeting places. They want to remove the municipal support for Pride festivals and stop further training in LGBTQI issues for municipality employees. And they also don’t want the rainbow flag to adorn the sky with its message of diversity, freedom and equal rights.

So what is behind the resistance towards the rainbow flag? The Swedish Democrats and other right-wing populists view LGBTQI people’s rights as an ideology to be eradicated. The rainbow flag becomes the symbol of that ideology. Right-wing extremists believe that the flag symbolises an ideology that threatens the nation and the nuclear family. When Nazis attack RFSL’s local branches and Pride celebrations, the rainbow flag is often vandalised, oftentimes burned. By viewing the rainbow flag as the symbol of an ideology, they can disregard that it’s a question of human rights. That is how governments have been able to withdraw LGBTQI people’s rights in, for example, Poland and Hungary.

Politicians from other parties who agree with the Swedish Democrats’ proposition need to ask themselves if they want to combat LGBTQI organising, LGBTQI people’s rights and the rainbow flag. Because that is what happens when you vote against our flags.

We are happy that politicians who thought of voting for similar proposals can rethink and change their decision. We are happy that they don’t let a hateful minority command the agenda and freely counteract LGBTQI people’s rights and a flag that is a symbol of equality for all people. We are also extremely happy about all the support the general public has shown through their protest against these hateful propositions.

Deidre Palacios
President of RFSL