A large movement at the moment is the DIY Rainbow Crossing that is sweeping Australia, and the world (apparently). It started out as a protest to the Sydney Council removing the rainbow crossing that was installed in Oxford Street, Sydney for Mardis Gras celebrations earlier this year. Every poof and lesbo seemed to be outraged at the thought of this temporary crossing being removed and started this as a protest.
Now when I first initially heard of the crossing being painted over I honestly wasn’t too fussed, that was until I saw the images of council workers ripping up the street and filling it in with new tar and asphalt. The scenes of this angered me completely, it wasn’t a simply painting over, it was as if the council were ripping out the rainbow crossing and all memory of it .
James Brecheny who is the mastermind behind the DIY Rainbow Crossing revolution, stated that when he did the first chalk rainbow, it was only over intended as a joke “I just thought it would be really funny to put on Facebook, I thought I’d get 50 Likes on my wall.”
Thousands of likes and messages later the DIY rainbow crossing movement began and what started as a protest became a message of love, equality and the big one, gay marriage. Now how does one get from crossing protest to gay marriage? I was confused by this so I did a little digging and here is what I found.
DIY Rainbow Crossings are appearing everywhere, all over Australia and even in some places across the world. Since the DIY Rainbow Crossing project started New Zealand and France have amended their marriage laws to include the LGBT community, coincidence? I like to think not.
While I personally do not want to spend my days hanging around streets with chalk, I do support what this group is trying to do. I personally think a better way to get the message out there is to get as much information on marriage laws and local council members as we can and actually putting together a protest against the current marriage laws and taking this to our local councils.
I live in Newcastle, NSW which has been highlighted for our council Mayor ordering the removal of these rainbow crossings with pressure water hoses as soon as they are noticed. There are a couple of issues surrounding this that you may not be aware of. A local nightclub “Unity” decided to do their own DIY crossing outside their club, it was quite spectacular and was quickly removed by the council. The problem I have is that the nightclub owners also run a website (http://genoz.com.au/index.php/insideout/headlines/item/newcastle-city-council-destroys-diy-rainbow-crossing) and documented the removal on video camera and quoted themselves in the article. The owners then spread this across the internet as much as they could in what seems like a desperate grab for attention for their nightclub, maybe not so much for the actual cause itself. I would like to make one thing very clear, Nightclub promoters do not act on behalf of the community, they have a business that operates and makes them money. They promote the consumption of alcohol and ultimately are in it for the cash. This is something that has always disturbed me about these nightclub promoters claiming to be social activists, they are not helping the community in any way, rather providing another venue for alcohol and entertainment quality.
While this is one element of a community, there are so many others that are more important that need to be addressed and included. ACON promote and host events for homosexuals as well as provided much needed health and wellbeing advice for the community as a whole. As You Are is a social and support group for 15-20 year old homosexuals, COMAG is for the more mature men of our community who have regular lunches, annual parties and get togethers. The Hunter Gay Network is another social group for gay men aged 30+, Karumah is a support group for people living with HIV and their parents, families and friends. LLINC is a lesbian social group, open to all ages, NUSA is the university group with regular meetings and you don’t have to be a student to attend. PFLAG is the parents supportive group for Newcastle and Rainbow Visions who host many events and the annual picnic and festival for the queer community. All of these are community activists, providing places of support, counselling and friendship that held mould and support a community of people. If you want to find out how to get in touch with any of these groups please click here.
Going back to my original discussion, the DIY rainbow crossing movement is getting bigger and bigger, and while council may find ways to remove them, maybe a smarter and more effective way would be to actually speak to the Mayor, find out what his objections are and find a solution to raise awareness of the homophobia in our city council (if it actually exists!) and start implementing effective ways to combat it.
I am challenging myself to get involved in my local community, I wish I had known about these groups when I was younger, it would have my situation a lot easier with some community support. If you are needing someone to talk to, or just don’t want to make friends of Grindr or at a sleazy club please get in touch with these groups and let’s make an effective and informed change in our town.