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The Rainbow Poppy

Part 1: The rainbow poppy is fake.

Every November, there is some post circulating Snapchat that describes how “this shouldn’t even have to be said” but the “rainbow poppy” should not be worn. Yet, year after year, no one wears a rainbow poppy, so why is everyone talking about it? A quick google search of “rainbow poppy” reveals something interesting… the rainbow poppy was never a trend. According to Martin MacMahon, Mark Neufeld and Espe Currie from CityNews, the picture of a single rainbow poppy is being used to argue that the LGBT+ community is “co-opting Remembrance Day.” In their words, “there is no mainstream movement among the LGBTQ+ community to use them, the poppies are not mass produced and are not even available to buy in Canada.” While there was one eBay seller who used to sell rainbow poppies, their shop has since closed. The rainbow poppy is not an issue, so why is anything being said? As Paul Aleksandr, a member of LBGT Burnham said to CoventryLive: "It seems a lot of outrage has been sparked for no reason but to inflame tensions and outrage. The purple poppy and white poppy exist, while contentious, have never sparked the bigotry that is essentially homophobia."

Part 2: Even if it was real, why is the rainbow special?

There have been poppies in different colours than red being sold for years. As Helena Hanson from Narcity states, “While the traditional poppy worn in Canada is red in colour, many variations of the badge have been introduced over the years. There’s a white poppy to symbolize peace, a purple poppy to remember the animals that have served in the war, and a black poppy to commemorate black, African and Caribbean communities' contribution to the war effort.” Yet there is no movement to stop these (real) poppies from being sold. Why is that? What makes these poppies different from the rainbow poppy? If people are protesting the rainbow poppy and not the white, purple or black poppy, they are protesting a poppy that commemorates the LGBT+ community. Whether they know it or not, they are playing into homophobic rhetoric.

Part 3: So how do you know what is real?

The CRAAP test can help you decipher what information can or cannot be trusted:

Currency: Has the information been posted recently or is this old news? Does it matter if it is old news? Is newer information available?

Relevancy: Does this information matter in this situation? Why does this information need to be known? Who is being helped by this information? Who is being harmed?

Authority (most important!): Who is telling me this? How can I trust them? Are they affected by this information? Are they an expert on this topic? Have they done their research?

Accuracy: If I look this up somewhere else, will other sources tell me the same thing? Is this topic being discussed in many other places?

Purpose: Why does the author want you to know this? What do they get out of this? Who are they trying to help? Who are they biased against?

In this situation, criticisms of the rainbow poppy do not pass the CRAAP test. The majority of people talking about this are not veterans, many sources disprove the very existence of a rainbow poppy trend and these critiques don’t help veterans. The rainbow poppy debate is simply an excuse to stigmatize the LGBT+ community.

Part 4: What’s the Takeaway?

CRAAP before you post. Asking yourself a few questions before posting can keep you from accidentally sharing harmful propaganda. If you don’t care about something, especially concerning marginalized groups, don’t say anything. If you do, make sure you’re saying something important.

Sources:

More resources that were not specifically mentioned:

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