Sydney and its Gay Community are Furious After the State Ripped Out its Rainbow Crosswalk in the Middle of the Night

Rainbow

Since its Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Sydney's Council and LGBT community has been involved in a debate with the city over keeping a rainbow crosswalk in the center of its gay village.

Last night, a city official (with the last name Gay, ironically) gave the order to remove the crosswalk, the Daily Telegraph reports:

Roads and Maritime Services removed the crossing overnight at the request of Roads Minister Duncan Gay, ending the stalemate between Sydney Council and the government. [Lord Mayor] Cr Moore, who was hosting a forum on the council's cultural policy when the trucks started to arrive at Taylor Square last night, said the move was "a retrograde step".

"I felt they'd come like a thief in the night to remove this crossing that had had such amazing support from the community and which had such support from the business community in Oxford St," she said "It's a sad day for us as a contemporary, progressive city and I thought that's what the crossing symbolised."

CrossingLGBT site Same Same adds:

The official reason for its destruction is that it is “unsafe”, but Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich and Mayor Clover Moore has shown the safety risk assessment of the crossing is “low risk”, clearly debuking Roads and Maritime Services concern. Greenwich suggested emergency crews were dispatched last night from Ultimo to vanquish the crossing, again raising questions about government resource allocation to instill discrimination and also begging the question about where priorities lie.

“It’s one thing to call for the removal, but to divert RMS crews under the guise of emergency road works is an aggressive act that Sydneysiders will not forget,” he reacts angrily. “Local businesses, residents, and the City of Sydney Council were not given any notice. This even surprised the RMS crew who at the last minute were instructed to remove the crossing."

UPDATE: Towleroad (@TLRD) Twitter follower @LiamGeslaf has alerted us that a rainbow crossing memorial has started at the site of the former crosswalk.

Supporters can plant their own flags or buy one at the site.

Memorial

Comments

  1. stranded says

    Either Mr. Gay is blatantly phobic or just plain stupid. It was an incredibly iconic tourist draw that could have brought in tourists year-round, not just for Mardis Gras. Methinks Mr. Gay may be too sensitive about his name.

  2. dj says

    Im a member of Sydney’s gay community and Im not that broken up about it. It would have been nice to keep it but it was understood to be temporary when they installed it. Not to mention people have been laying down on it and taking photos which was causing traffic delays not to mention safety issues. If you want to blame someone then blame the people who thought it was a good idea to lay down in the street for a photo op.

  3. says

    Maybe the citizens should do what was done in San Francisco in the mid-70s. Stamp their paper currancy with a pink ink stamp “GAY MONEY”, and the local merchants will realize who their customers are and where their profits are coming from. It worked as soon as the merchants found OUT just how much of their business comes from the gay community.

  4. TommyOC says

    West Hollywood’s rainbow crosswalk was installed last summer for its pride celebration, to be removed a month later.

    A year on, it’s still there. It even looks to have been maintained.

  5. TonyJazz says

    Australia is obviously still struggling with their acceptance of gays. I wonder when the country will catch up with much of Europe, elsewhere?

    I thought they would be more socially advanced by now, but I was wrong….

  6. Graphicjack says

    Coloured chalk? Umm… Ever heard of rain, not to mention that it would takes hours and hours to colour that big of a crosswalk with chalk? Go to the nearest hardware store, buy six big cans of paint and go to town. If the community keeps painting it back, the city will leave it. They’re not going to shell out that kind of money each time, believe me.

  7. Tony says

    Here in Australia, all roadworks are done at night time where possible to minimise the impact on traffic. To do it in the middle of the day would be utterly stupid.

    I feel sorry for the roads minister. He did something really nice and allowed a temporary rainbow road crossing for Mardi Gras even though it breaks all safety protocols, and now he’s being attacked as pegged as homophobic! Some things are more important than our LGBT pride – things like pedestrians’ LIVES. He should’ve rejected the temporary permit to begin with, then we wouldn’t be here now.

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