There are those little moments where society surprises you and where we all jump on top of a cause from the word – GO!
The DIY Rainbow Movement that has taken over the streets of Sydney feels much like the aftershock of Arthur Stace’s ‘Eternity’ graffiti of the 1940s-50s. Stace’s graffiti of this word inspired the lighting of the Sydney Harbour Bridge Fireworks display in 2000. However, here we are dealing with a very different monster. Here we are dealing with the masses of Sydneysiders that were given a rainbow crossing to symbolise how far gay rights and equality had moved forward in this country, only to have it cleaned away by bureaucratic safety concerns.
For those who aren’t from Sydney, the story goes like this…
As part of Australia’s biggest Gay Pride Event, The Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, the State Government agreed to allow the City of Sydney Local Council to paint a rainbow crossing. Little did the Government know that our State Member and The Lord Mayor of Sydney were very happy to see the crossing live on, to become an attraction, and to spread rainbow love beyond its shelf life of a few weeks.
The result was a decision by State Roads Minister, Duncan Gay, to remove the crossing using $30,000 of state money for fear of safety concerns to the public. The post-removal response was not as he’d planned and the community backlash seems to show that not only did he waste valuable tax dollars but he also negated any economic benefit from tourism or general urban aesthetics to his decision making process. As with many issues and fears within a Nanny State we were all told, “do not sit on the rainbow crossing”…
So what is Sydney doing now? Well have a look at the after effect, Sydneysiders are reconstructing their rainbow crossing on every corner of the city. We are seeing a once in a life time moment where people are able to contribute and say, “YOU KNOW WHAT F#*& YOU! I WANT MY RAINBOW CROSSING BACK!”
Unlike the historical symbolism that Stace etched into the streets of Sydney, today we leave our mark with chalk and digital social media sharing…how our world is evolving! Keep the good work up kids!
Here they are on Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/DIYrainbowcrossings?fref=ts
and Instagram (via statigram): http://statigr.am/tag/diyrainbow/
Seven News: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrEzq8Bihg0
Sydney Morning Herald (note the 73% approval of the Rainbow Crossing): http://www.smh.com.au/comment/la-kept-its-rainbow-crossing-so-why-couldnt-sydney-20130410-2hltt.html