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  • Writer's pictureMaurice Rubio-McMillon

Colors of Courage

"Colors of Courage" title displayed above a repeating pattern of the new sanctuary's logo featured in various color waves representing gender identities and sexual orientations.

Admittedly, when I was younger, I wasn't attracted to products that featured pride, or rainbow color waves; a color wave is when a product is featured in particular color scheme variations to attract certain buyers. In fact, rainbows were hideous to me for a long, long time. They reminded me of the 90s-era products with bold lines, neon rainbow colors, and glitter-bombed accents made famous by Lisa Frank.

Image from Lisa Frank Facebook page.

Even though rainbows were a trigger for me, as I matured I recognized that they were a symbol of welcome and acceptance for people like me - different. Around the time that I was 15 or 16 years old, I visited Key West, FL, and noticed for the first time that little rainbow stickers were featured on certain businesses' windows. As I entered them, I quickly caught on to their association with being gay, and suddenly I spotted them everywhere, like a hidden secret in plain sight.

Diverse Colors = Diverse Challenges

Image from VeryWell featuring a progress pride flag and a description of what each color on the flag represents.

I'm still not crazy about rainbows, but I appreciate what they symbolize for our community; acknowledgment, acceptance, authenticity, safety, understanding, and above all freedom. In the last year, I've met countless individuals who embrace these colors and feel incredibly empowered by them. Something that I don't feel as strongly about myself, yet their connection to and feelings about the rainbow color scheme influenced a shift in my perspective and led to some powerful revelations.

It's Not About The Colors

Maybe it's obvious, maybe it isn't, but people's connection to the rainbow color scheme, and all those other color schemes that have been created since, is not because of the colors themselves, but overcoming the challenges that the combination of colors represents. Coming out is a difficult journey because we have to decipher what we think from what we've been taught, and then redefine who we are within the context of our social persona, our relationships, and our belief systems. And after all that, we make a difficult choice to either share our personal discoveries or hide them.

To hide who we are and live in perpetual fear of rejection, denial, and neglect from people whom we've loved is torture. And yet, many of us choose to endure it for the promise of happiness that seeking romantic love brings. However, many of us also choose worse – not to hide who we are, but to fully reject ourselves; an act that can have the heaviest of consequences.

Coming Out Is About Letting Others In

When we choose to come out, we often stand alone as we challenge the world's view of sexuality and gender. That challenge guarantees obstacles are thrown at us whether we are prepared for them – with a supportive system behind us – or not.

The rainbow – along with all the other color combinations we now recognize for a plethora of identities and expressions that have since come to be named – symbolizes that personal journey of identity and most notably the courage it takes to stand as one's full authentic self in the face of someone they love, knowing that they risk rejection.

There is no greater proof of love than to offer yourself whole and unadulterated in a society where people exist determined to destroy you. A story of self-sacrificial love that's been around for more than 2,023 years, but is lost in translation and meaning.

New Sanctuary of the Treasure Coast's logo, horizontal markup

Designed For Representation

Recently, I had the opportunity to design a new logo for an LGBTQ+ community center, The Sanctuary of the Treasure Coast. My newfound appreciation for the rainbow color scheme allowed me to incorporate it in the logo without restraint.

If you'd like to learn more about the design, check it out on my DESIGN page.

What I'd like to bring to your attention is that I designed this logo to be prepared for the adaptation of gender/sexuality color waves. How the Sanctuary will use them, I'm not sure, but what I am sure about is that it's important to acknowledge people's challenges and celebrate their triumphs over them.

A repeating pattern of the new Sanctuary's logo featured in various color waves representing gender identities and sexual orientations.

Thanks For Reading

Thank you for reading this blog. If this content interests you, then I encourage you to discover more blog posts and other media interviews/discussions on the Heartsleeve Monologue. Please, feel free to leave a comment below if you enjoyed this post.

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