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Life is coming up rainbows in Richmond

By Laura Priestley

Published 12:02 PDT, Thu October 3, 2019

Last Updated: 3:37 PDT, Thu October 3, 2019

It’s big, bold and cheerful. Richmond’s rainbow crosswalk links the Richmond Arts Centre with the Richmond School Board for anyone crossing Minoru Boulevard. 

Installed at the initiative of Richmond’s LGBTQ2S community and allies, the vivid walkway shows the city’s support for our diverse queer community. 

“The crosswalk is an expression of how we value and respect diversity. We recognize the importance of a safe and inclusive community for all the people in Richmond,” says Mayor Malcolm Brodie.

Approved by council in mid-June, the crosswalk was completed near the middle of summer. The total cost of the project was $15,000. 

Based on advice from local community, the crosswalk design the eight colours, of the original gay pride flag, designed by gay activist and artist Gilbert Baker in 1978. 

And, while the multi-coloured walkway was designed to show support, it also points out clearly that there is a mid-block crosswalk, making it safer for everyone who uses it. An example of unintended positive consequences. 

Although the crosswalk faced protests at each stage as well as posters opposing it showed up around high traffic areas in Richmond including the Brighouse Canada Line station, the city says they received phone calls and emails of support for the brilliantly-coloured crosswalk and its meaning. 

Although the crosswalk was protested while being painted and anti-LGBTQ+ posters were plastered around Brighouse station and other high traffic locations. The city has received various phone calls and emails expressing their support of the colourful crosswalk.

“It’s okay to be yourself” says Richmond city Coun. Bill McNulty. 

Local LGBTQ2S members have shared their gratitude with statements such as “I love how Richmond has a permanent visual that shows their support of the LGBTQ2S community.” 

Another Richmond LGBTQ2S member said, “My hopes are that the rainbow crosswalk will aid in further educating the public about the LGBTQ2S community, reduce social stigma and increase inclusivity in our beautiful city. Go outside and enjoy it.”

Seen by the LGBTQ2S community as a concrete sign of support, they are quick to note that showing support for all members of our community, whose human rights are explicitly entrenched in the wording of the Canadian Charter of Human Rights is the way to go. 

As one community member said, “This small step has gone a long way in supporting the LGBTQ2S community. Showing support for members of our community positively impacts everyone. Kindness invites kindness.”

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