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Reimagining the PRIDE of the Rainbow for Health Equity and Inclusion

by Aleasa Word, FAACT Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

June 2024

In the broad landscape of diversity and inclusion, it is crucial to consider all aspects of human identity and condition, including health issues those in the food allergy community face alongside dimensions such as sexual orientation and gender identity. Rainbows have always been a sign of hope, joy, and weathering storms. What if we took a moment to reimagine the symbolic colors of the LGBTQIA+ rainbow flag and explored strategies to foster a more inclusive environment that accommodates the unique needs of individuals with food allergies within various dimensions of diversity?

In an inclusive environment, the rainbow might look like this:

Red: The Bold Color of Advocacy and Fearless Awareness

Red can represent life and energy while underscoring the need for advocacy and heightened awareness. For those within the LGBTQIA+ community who manage food allergies, this color motivates us to promote safe food practices actively. Staff at community centers, events, and restaurants can be encouraged to adopt transparent food labeling and offer alternative options. This approach not only protects individuals but integrates them into social life without fear or hesitation. It helps remove the stigma associated with people wanting everything “their way” and instead creates a pathway for things to simply be done the right way.

Orange: Inclusion Through Compassionate Inclusion

Orange would represent the desire and ability to create a healing space through compassionate inclusion. Ensuring that every social and community event offers allergy-safe food options can significantly reduce the anxiety associated with social dining and participation. Training staff and volunteers at LGBTQIA+ events about cross-contamination and allergy-friendly food preparation can also foster a nurturing environment where everyone feels cared for.

Yellow: Joyful Illumination and Education

Yellow radiates. It screams visibility and illumination, highlighting the importance of bringing issues to light. By educating the broader LGBTQIA+ community about the realities of living with food allergies, we can create an environment where those affected feel seen and supported. Awareness campaigns can include stories from individuals at the intersection of these identities, providing a platform for them to share their experiences and needs.

Green: Growth Through Understanding

Green can represent nature and growth. It also has the ability to reflect continuous development in communities. Encouraging dialogues and sharing experiences related to food allergies within LGBTQIA+ forums can promote a deeper understanding and empathy. This ongoing education and interaction can facilitate growth, helping community members learn how best to support each and see humanity in embracing all differences in inclusive ways.

Blue: Foundationally Supportive Networks

Blue conveys serenity and stability, which are essential to fostering supportive networks. Establishing support groups specifically for LGBTQIA+ individuals with food allergies can provide a safe space to discuss challenges and exchange practical advice. These groups can serve as a base for emotional and logistical support, reinforcing the stability needed to navigate daily challenges.

Purple: Celebrating Diversity as a Royal Imperative

The color is known for its spirit and depth, speaking to the deep and vibrant diversity within the LGBTQIA+ community. Organizing special events that focus on the intersection of LGBTQIA+ identity and food allergies can be a powerful way to celebrate this diversity. Workshops, panel discussions, and social events can all highlight and honor the unique perspectives and experiences of individuals living at this intersection.

Indigo: Reflection and Policy Advocacy

Indigo calls for reflection on current policies and advocacy for inclusive practices. Pushing for legislation that requires allergy-friendly options in public venues and schools ensures that safety and inclusion are prioritized. Understanding your state and federal guidelines and rules around ADA policies, rights in public education, and other health-based rights can help improve not only our personal knowledge but give us insight into how to work with legislators for change.

The colors of the LGBTQIA+ rainbow have been a long-standing symbol of identity and pride. When allowed to be freely observed, it also provides a framework for addressing complex issues such as food allergies within diverse communities. By adopting practices aligned with the values each color represents, we can ensure that our efforts in diversity, inclusion, and health equity are comprehensive and effective. As you honor the legacy of PRIDE month, draw inspiration from each hue to build a community that is safe and welcoming for all, regardless of their allergies or identities.