So Over The Rainbow

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I'm so over the rainbow.

Gay Pride month may happen in June, but in my neighborhood - San Francisco's Castro - Gay Pride happens every day. Rainbow banners fly from lamp posts, shop windows, and flutter from Victorian houses. Rainbow coffee mugs, socks, and t-shirts are for sale all over the place, and Castro street's intersections feature rainbow-painted crosswalks illuminated by - what else? - rainbow street lights. And, above it all, a 40-foot rainbow flag flaps at the corner of Castro and Market.

Now, I love the colorful flag and the whole "Go Team Gay!" pep rally feeling. And I'm certainly in favor of gay pride - I've been out for about 35 years. But I'm not sure it's OK we have hijacked the rainbow.

Rainbows - once a staple of kindergarten finger paint art, leprechaun pots of gold, and groovy 70's posters - have become indelibly associated with the gay movement.

As a result, nowadays, everything with a rainbow theme - from rainbow connections to rainbow coalitions, from Rainbow trout to Rainbo bread, from "Reading Rainbow" on PBS to the peacock logo on NBC, from Broadway's "Finian's Rainbow" to the Rolling Stones' "She's a Rainbow" - seems to be about gay pride.


Rainbows are one of nature's most magnificent visual phenomenon, and it's selfish we called a monopoly on them. The rainbow is just too beautiful to belong to one political agenda. Though my opinion won't be popular in the LGBT community, I think it's time to return the rainbow. I'm ready for rainbows to be reclaimed by Kermit the Frog and paint supply store displays.

It's 2016. With marriage equality coast-to-coast, maybe we can stop always chasing rainbows. Though, worldwide, the gay movement still has a long way to go, I hope we're after the same rainbows end - moving beyond requiring this ubiquitous symbol on all things gay. I know I'm feeling beyond it.

After all, if happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, why, oh why, can't I?

With a Perspective, I'm Richard Swerdlow.

Richard Swerdlow is a teacher with the San Francisco Unified School District.