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Pride Month | 5 Flowers That Have Come to Symbolise the LGBTQ Movement & Why

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Blooming Haus Creative Floral Designs

Your perfect chance to join in with the colourful LGBTQ+ community and spread more love, light, understanding, and acceptance.

The vibrant creativity around the world this time of year is a joy to behold, and a beautiful way to celebrate and symbolise diversity and inclusion in 2023.

For us, flowers, like people, are bright, colourful, varied and beautiful!

Over the years it's been extremely fulfilling to witness flowers becoming a hugely popular way to help express Pride Month.

Today, we'll take a look into the deep roots of this connection and explore the 5 flowers that have come to symbolise LGBTQ+ movement.

Your Guide to Pride Month Flowers

1. What is The History of Pride Month?

You may be wondering when did Pride Month start?

Have you heard of the Stonewall Riots of June 1969?

They happened when police raided a gay bar in New York City
Image – Johannes Jordan (Wikimedia Commons)
Flowers were first linked with the riots in 1970.

Demonstrators carried blooms with them when they marched through Greenwich Village in solidarity, on the anniversary of the original riots. 

They wanted people to be able to go to places where they could be open about their sexual orientation

This event is regarded as the FIRST EVER PRIDE MARCH. 

As flower design professionals, we love the fact that our passion is associated with such a historic occasion. 

Wondering when Pride events came to the UK?

The first Pride event in the UK happened on 1 July 1972

This country is also home to the charity Stonewall which was created in 1989 to lobby for equal rights for what was then the LGBT community. 

Today it’s one of the biggest LGBTQ+ rights organisations in Europe.

2. When Was The Rainbow Flag Created?

Eight years after the first Pride march this rainbow flag first became a familiar sight within what has become the LGBTQ+ community…

You can see representations of Gilbert Baker’s original design at any Pride event. 

The rainbow colours give us goosebumps.
They’re gorgeous and they have so much meaning behind them. 

The six colours of the flag today with their meanings are:

• red for life. 
• orange for healing. 
• yellow for sunlight. 
• green for nature. 
• indigo for serenity. 
• violet for spirit. 

Did you know that the original flag had eight stripes, not six?

Hot pink for sex and turquoise for magic/art were both removed over time. 

Who can’t relate to the meanings of the colours of the rainbow flag?

We all need them in our lives. 

Nature, sunlight and life especially are at the centre of everything we do as luxury florists. 

Take a look at our natural and sustainable flower designs ethos that helps to protect the planet and its inhabitants. 

Our designs are also a celebration of life and vitality.
An affinity with the colours of the rainbow flag isn’t our only connection with Pride Month and the LGTBQ movement. 

We also share a long history of appreciating and embracing flowers

Want to know more?

Let’s dig deeper…

3. Oscar Wilde and Green Carnations

Heard the story about Oscar Wilde and the green carnations?

Picture the scene…

It was the opening night of “Lady Windermere’s Fan” in 1892.

Irish playwright and author Wilde told one of the actors and some of his friends to wear green carnations in their lapels. 

Someone asked Wilde what was meant by this and he replied, “Nothing whatever, but that is just what nobody will guess.”
Some people have suggested that wearing an “unnatural” green flower was a way of mocking the idea that love between two men was seen as unnatural at the time. 

Rumour has it that some gay men in Victorian England wore green carnations to identify each other

At the very least this is a powerful story about a hugely creative and innovative writer

4. Sappho’s Violets

Do you know who this is?

We’re going to introduce you…
Sappho (c. 630-c.570) was a Greek poet who associated violets with love between two females

She wrote:

“Together you set before more
and many scented wreaths
made from blossoms
around your soft throat…
…with pure, sweet oil
…you anointed me.”

Her writings were full of passion and they continue to resonate with the lesbian community today. 
Where did the Term Lesbian Originate?
Sapphos lived on the island of Lesbos

You probably won’t be surprised that this is how the world lesbian originated. 

The word sapphic (after Sapphos) is also used for love between two women

Stunning violets like those of Sapphos have continued to represent female love for centuries…

You’ll probably be as disturbed as we are by some of the controversies that have happened. 
In 1926, a female character in the play “The Captive”, sent violets to another female character. 

There was uproar and the New York City district attorney’s office closed the production down the following year. The sale of violets crashed through the floor as a result. 

As people who cherish flowers, we find it hard to believe that something so terrible could be associated with such a stunning bloom. It wasn’t all bad news though…

Protests started to happen…

When the play was shown in Paris, some women wore violets on their lapels in support. 

Playwright Tennessee Williams named the character Mrs Violet Venable in his play “Suddenly Last Summer” as a symbolic gesture. 

And, of course, violet for spirit is also part of the rainbow flag. 

5. The Beauty and Colour of the Pansy

The word “pansy” was first associated with gay men in the early 1900s.

It’s continued to be a familiar term to this day. 

Sometimes the association has been positive, sometimes definitely not.

Heard of the underground drag balls in Los Angeles and New York in the 1920s-1930s?

They were hugely popular at the time and the drag performers were known as “pansy performers.”

The name was a reference to the colourful clothing they wore. 

We’re totally fascinated by this period of time. 

It looks amazing. 
Even in a black and white image, you can sense the vitality of what was known as the “Pansy Craze.” 

After Prohibition ended many of these amazing clubs were shut down. 

But, the word pansy continued to be used about gay men, often in a derogatory way

Want to hear some really positive news?

LGBTQ+ activists are using the beauty of the pansy in a life-affirming way, especially during Pride Month. 
Image – Pink News
Paul Harfleet is one of the most famous of these activists.

 The artist founded “The Pansy Project.

Collaborators in the project plant single pansies at sites where transphobic or homophobic discrimination has happened. 

The colourful blooms symbolise hope and encourage people to be more thoughtful of each other. 

Highly appropriate when you realise that the name “pansy” comes from the French verb “penser” meaning “to think.”

6. The Rose as a Symbol of Diversity During Pride Month

Love the passion and romance that roses symbolise?

 We’re with you. 

Some of our favourite creations feature this famous flower, like this one…
The LGBTQ+ community has embraced this essence of the rose. 

Photographer Kristin Coffer used the flower in “The Rose Project.”

She said that her aim was to honour, “the beautiful trans, gay, queer and non-binary community.”

So, she gave each of her subjects a rose to hold as a representation of, “Diversity, beauty, and love.”

Like us, Kristen works with flowers regularly. Some of her favourite images are of her friend and collaborator Cash Askew who sadly is no longer with us.

Cash holds a rose in these images and this is the impetus behind “The Rose Project.” 

When it comes to Pride Month or any LGBTQ events, “tie-dyed” or “rainbow” roses are a common sight. 

You can see why given the association between their bright colours and the LGBTQ+ community.

7. Lavender at the Centre of Gay and Lesbian Communities

The flower lavender, and its colour, are intricately linked with both gay men and lesbian women. 

Some of the connotations have been less than positive. 

Gay men were referred to as “Lavender boys” in the 1920s as they were seen to be “not masculine enough.”

US writer and feminist Betty Friedan labelled lesbian involvement with the women’s movement as “the Lavender Menace.”
Despite the derogatory use of the word lavender by some people, the power of the flower and the colour for the LGBTQ+ community is clear, especially during pride. 

Lesbian feminist Rita Mae Brown and other activists fought back against Betty Friedan by wearing t-shirts that said “Lavender Menace” at a women’s event. 

As a result, the women’s movement welcomed them into the organisation. 

Today, the flower and the colour lavender are still a powerful LGBTQ+ symbol

Those Stonewall rioters we mentioned earlier wore lavenders in their lapels. 

And, after the US presidential election in 2016, Gilbert Baker re-designed his rainbow flag to include a lavender stripe. 

One suggestion about why lavender is so important to the LGBTQ+ movement is that it’s a mix of blue for a cultural male connection and pink for a cultural pink connection. 

This represents a mixing and melding to create the overriding vibe of LOVE. 
Whatever the reason, we love that lavender is integral to such an important movement

It’s an exquisite piece of nature

8. Ready to Celebrate Diversity with Flowers?

The world has been a very different place recently

Aside from the difficulties of the global pandemic, diversity has also been centre stage.  

The emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement has shown us all that we can make a difference. 

It’s the perfect time to embrace Pride Month, the LGBTQ+ community, and diversity overall. 

As creatives with colour at the centre of our lives, we believe in using flowers to make a statement of unity and love

We look forward to seeing the natural beauty of blooms represented at Trans Pride London on July 9th 2023

The event starts at 2 pm in Hyde Park and is set to be a celebration as well as a way of expressing the concerns of the trans community. 

Unfortunately, Pride in London was cancelled in 2021 - but since then it's back with a bang!

It'll be held on 1st of July 2023 - this year is a significant year for the Pride movement and the LGBT+ community as we commemorate 50 years since the first Pride took place in the United Kingdom!
Although it’s moved from June to July this year, the event will be as big and impressive as ever.

 It’s the chance for everyone to join together to make a statement that it’s okay to be who you are. 

Diversity isn’t just for a month or two though… As professionals who work in a creative and collaborative industry, we know how inclusivity and diversity provide an essential breath of life. 

We like to compare it to the landscape of flowers that convey so many individual but equally important messages…

Roses for love…
Bluebells for humility…
Violets for devotion…
Like the idea of expressing diversity through flowers?

We relish the opportunity to share our passion. 

You can join one of regular workshops where we show you how to create your own beautiful and sustainable floristry design. 

Keep your eyes on our Journal and social media for upcoming events. 

We’d also love to hear about your adventures with flowers and diversity.

How have the colours and scents of blooms affected your life?
Do you have any flower related Pride stories that you want to share?

Pop your stories or questions in the comments

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

And remember…

Be kind, be inclusive, and…

Share the LOVE this Pride Month!

9. Other Resources You May Find Useful

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