Today we welcome back an old friend to the heart of Sydney’s LGBTQIA district – the vibrant, loud and proud rainbow crossing. It looks a little curvier than before, this time taking pride of place on the corner of Bourke and Campbell Streets, and it’s eye-poppingly bright with red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple stripes that were lovingly hand painted on the intersection earlier this week.
“I think we’ll see more people skip across the road, rather than walk, and I think we’ll see a lot of smiles on faces as people approach it,” says State Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich, speaking to Time Out on the rainbow crossing at its official opening this morning.
“It is awesome to see the rainbow crossing returned to Sydney. It is just such a vibrant and iconic celebration of our LGBTI community and it’s come just in time for Mardi Gras, which is awesome.”
The original rainbow crossing on Oxford Street was forcibly removed in 2013, sparking a movement of chalked-up rainbows across Sydney and across the state.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore says, “San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker’s rainbow flag has been a symbol of those first bloody struggles of the gay rights movement. The 78ers in Australia put up with brutal treatment during the first Sydney Mardi Gras, and the rainbow flag has come to represent the LGBTIQ community’s struggles for liberation, survival and equality. I know residents and visitors will love this colourful symbol of the City’s long standing support for our LGBTIQ community.”
The pedestrian crossing is said to be the first in the world in both the proper shape and colours of a rainbow. Founder of the DIY Rainbow movement, James Brechney, says it’s a perfect location for the new rainbow: “It’s as if Campbell and Bourke Streets were made for it. Sydney will have the only rainbow-shaped rainbow crossing in the world!”
The City of Sydney tells us the crossing itself prioritises pedestrians, and the green light for cars will be triggered by sensors when vehicles approach the intersection. The rainbow itself has been installed on a six-month trial as it’s subject to an independent safety review. So, be careful when you’re snapping those selfies – we don’t want to lose another future icon.
“We’re already seeing images of it shared far and wide across social media,” says Alex Greenwich. “The rainbow crossing will pay for itself many times over, not only in the beautiful visual aspects of it, but the important message it sends to the world that Sydney is a community that truly celebrates its LGBTQI community.”
The City of Sydney is hosting a Rainbow Crossing Returns event on Saturday February 9 between 11am-1pm, which is also when you can have your rainbow crossing selfies printed out on demand simply by using #SydneyRainbowCrossing on Instagram.
Share how you feel about living in Sydney in the Time Out Index 2019.