A bus company has apologised after it attracted criticism for repurposing a double-decker Pride vehicle to show support for the NHS.
The six-colour rainbow has long been a symbol for the LGBT+ community but throughout the coronavirus crisis the traditional seven-colour rainbow has been adopted to show hope and thanks to healthcare workers.
Plymouth Citybus announced on Twitter last Saturday: “Rainbows have become synonymous with hope and the NHS during the current pandemic, so we thought what better way to show our thanks to our amazing NHS and key workers, than to re-brand our Pride bus to our rainbow ‘NHS’ bus?”
The move provoked a backlash on social media, with users accusing the company of misappropriating the symbol.
One Twitter user wrote: “The rainbow is the only universal symbol celebrating LGBTQ rights. There are so many other ways to celebrate the NHS without erasing that. Im sure this was meant well, but it is hugely Ill conceived.”
However, another account argued: “Plymouth Citybus are doing their best with what they’ve got, and with the best of good will. As a gay man, who is alive because of the NHS, I’m glad to see hopeful rainbows WHEREVER they are!”
In wake of the fallout Citybus issued an apology, saying it did not intend to cause offence and that the rebrand was only temporary.
“Our team have played a huge part in @PrideinPlymouth for many years. We are an all inclusive company representing the community we serve,” the statement said.
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