She Chose Purple!


Lisa Traill shares her rainbow wrist band experience.

‘What are they all about?’ my colleague asked, nodding at the colourful rainbow of bands around my wrist. 100% written on one side and Tino Pai at the other. “Its part of the ‘I’m an Ally’ campaign that’s about to launch, for straight people to show their support for the Rainbow communities, would you like one?”

And then it dawned on me…what if she isn’t straight? How rude of me to assume she is. I didn’t even think…“choose any colour you like” I said, potentially making it worse. ‘Oh great, purple thanks’ came the reply and she happily strapped it on while my internal telling-off continued.


I’d never before worried about the assumption of heterosexuality. “What are you? 13 years old and this is 2009?” my son teased me when he first saw them. Only green, yellow and orange were left – inviting people to choose any colour they like is a nice design feature of starting with the whole rainbow on your wrist.

I patiently explained and all 17 years of him just looked at me and said something like “well duh, what’s the big deal, everyone can be whatever they want, why do they need your support?”.  The urge to roll out my ‘back in the eighties we used to march up Queen Street protesting to have the law changed….’ story was enormous but even as I thought it, I realised that was 30 years ago; nearly twice his life time. And in his world – gay, straight or whatever – if you’re ok with it, then that’s what matters. End of.

Which is really good. Except it’s just not like that for everyone, yet. And even if it were, sometimes it’s just good to show your colours in support and share the love anyway.

 Article | Lisa Traill 

Look out for the ‘I’m an Ally’ campaign promoted by Outline and Auckland Council as part of the Rainbow Framework and making Auckland the world’s most liveable city for Rainbow Communities.