Is Google Hiding Its Gay Pride Support With a Disappearing Doodle?

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Until now, it seemed Google could doodle no wrong. Now, some critics contend Google’s hidden rainbow illustration casts a cloud over Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.

To celebrate gay pride in June, Google has placed a little rainbow next to its search bar that pops up when users type in terms like “gay,” “lesbian,” “homosexuality,” “LGBT,” “marriage equality,” “bisexuality” and “transgender.”

(PHOTOS: A History of Google Doodles)

Some in the gay community say Google’s use of the disappearing rainbow instead of a fully-fledged Doodle is a disappointment. And, they allege, hiding the iconic symbol behind “pride-related” search terms is just a way to avoid anti-gay group ire.

The hidden doodle “should keep the six-color rainbow, a symbol universally associated with gay pride ever since San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker created it 33 years ago, from appearing on the pages of those who are still opposed to gay rights. And keep Google from having to deal with any backlash,” writes The Atlantic’s Nicholas Jackson.

Google declined to explain why the feature only appears with certain searches. “As you may imagine, it’s difficult for us to choose which events to celebrate on our site, and have a long list of those we’d like to celebrate in the future,” a statement from the company said.

Critics are quick to reel off the events Google has commemorated with Doodles that seem rather trivial in comparison: Paul Cezanne’s 172 birthday, Pac-Man’s 30th anniversary, and Sesame Street.

“I just want the same treatment as Vivaldi, who was properly celebrated even 269 years after his death,” writes Jackson, who is openly gay.

PHOTOS: A Visual History of the Gay Rights Movement