The Rainbow’s Gone – Get Over It!

Toto, I don't think we're in Oz any more - they're tearing up the rainbow! pic by Geoff Field on Facebook

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Oz any more – they’re tearing up the rainbow! pic by Geoff Field on Facebook

The New South Wales government has insisted on sticking to the original plan, erasing the ‘temporary’ rainbow crossing in Sydney’s gay district, at a cost of $40,000. It was simply too successful.

It became a tourist attraction. People wanted to be photographed near it, on it. It generated coverage across Australia and the world. It promoted an area that has been in decline, and showed signs of helping to revitalise the area. And so of course it had to go.

To leave it there would have reminded everyone that gay is not just for Mardi Gras, it’s for life. That gay people live and work and play in Sydney 24/7/365, not just a couple of weeks a year.

In a telling symbolic gesture, they didn’t just paint over it. They physically gouged it out of the road and replaced it with fresh black tarmac.

And it's gone: pic stolen from samesame.com.au

And it’s gone: pic stolen from samesame.com.au

In retrospect, it was foolish to try to make the rainbow crossing permanent. The state government really only tolerates the gay community because for a few short weeks each year, we flood the city with money.  Reminds me of the landlord of a London pub I used to visit years ago, who announced closing time each night by shouting “All right poofters, you can f-ck off now, we’ve had your money!!”

Of course, that was back in the day when homosexuality had only recently been decriminalised and anti-gay prejudice was widespread and strong.

This is the same rather dim unthinking prejudice that led the NSW police to bus in hordes of poorly trained suburban police for Mardi Gras, and then excuse their rough behaviour on the grounds that they were not used to dealing with LGBTI people!

One of two permanent rainbow crossings in West Hollywood

One of two permanent rainbow crossings in West Hollywood

Don’t we know we’re supposed to stay where we’re put, go where we’re told, and otherwise shut up and don’t make a fuss?

God forbid we should expect to be treated with courtesy and respect by our public servants! And how dare we think it’s OK to shove our presence into people’s faces, all day every day, by marking our territory with a rainbow crossing? We should think ourselves lucky they once let us have one on our turf at all.

Now let’s all just shut up  f-ck off home like good little poofs and dykes.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/theslowlane/7735473550/

Permanent rainbow crossing Vancouver: pic by Robert Ashworth

Or not. Accepting for the moment that their excuse of ‘road safety’ rules out another rainbow crossing, why not do as Philadelphia does, and put rainbows on all the street signs in the area?

rainbow sign

 

UPDATE

The following letter has surfaced, indicating a willingness to consider alternative ‘rainbow’ fixtures: meanwhile a Rainbow Rebellion is spreading http://www.facebook.com/DIYrainbowcrossings .

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About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)