Families will welcome the message of love and acceptance found within the pages of a new board book, All the Colours of Our Rainbow, from CBCA award-winning author and illustrator Daniel Gray-Barnett. Released in June as a celebration of Pride Month, the book is a joyful exploration of the meaning behind each of the colours of the pride flag and their deeper connection to what the flag represents for the LGBTQIA+ community. In this piece, Daniel shares what the rainbow flag means to him. 

 

When the opportunity came along to be a part of this project, I jumped at it. Rainbows have always been such an iconic part of pop culture and they played a big part in my childhood. As a kid, my favourite flavour of Paddle Pop was rainbow. In our household, The Wizard of Oz VHS tape was on regular rotation. When I learnt to play piano, one of the first songs I wanted to teach myself was Rainbow Connection from The Muppet Movie. Hearing Kermit sing about ‘the lovers, the dreamers, and me’ made me want to find this rainbow connection, wherever it was, but some place where I could be one of the lovers and dreamers. I was skeptical about pots of gold, but on sighting a rainbow, I would desperately try to see its end, hoping to find some trace of whatever this rainbow connection might be.

Now, as a married gay man with a family, I can see how rainbows have informed both my early life and the future I almost didn’t believe was possible.

All the Colours of Our Rainbow gently explores the colours of the Pride flag and how the values they represent can unite us all through love, family and community. We can connect over common experiences, such as a sunny day at the beach, introducing a new baby to loved ones or making up with a friend after a fight.

Thinking about this book and all of the hopes and dreams that it represents, I feel immense gratitude to the LGBTQIA+ community that I’m a part of – to the people who have come before me, for the things that they have endured and fought for, so that we can live in a time in Australia when we can all choose to marry the person we love. I never thought in my lifetime that marrying my husband would be something I would ever be able to do, let alone embarking on the journey of starting our own family.

Daniel Barnett, baby Till, and Daniel Gray-Barnett read All the Colours of Our Rainbow.

 

Three months ago, my husband and I welcomed a son into our lives, thanks to the generosity of a surrogate, egg donor and their families. It still feels surreal and I know how lucky we are to be parents. But now that we are a family, the rainbow flag has taken on a whole new meaning.

The journey to extend our family has made me aware of the growing presence of rainbow families in our communities. When we bought a second-hand baby capsule recently, it turned out to be from a young family with two mums. One of my best friends and her wife are about to meet their new baby, who will be born via a surrogate. It’s becoming more common for children to know someone that has at least one parent from the rainbow community. With the increasing visibility comes questions – questions that I know my son might face at school or in society. Why does he have two dads? Who is his mum? Who is his ‘real’ dad?

It’s natural for children to be curious – which is why All the Colours of Our Rainbow is an important step in starting conversations with them about rainbow families, the LGBTQIA+ community and why we celebrate Pride. I’d love for all children to learn that not every family fits the typical mould that we see in most mainstream children’s media.

The more we celebrate our differences, the more we learn about the wonderful things in life that unite us all.