Sydney’s beloved rainbow crossing was both a symbol of LGBTQ pride and a popular tourist attraction before the State Government controversially covered it up without warning.
Now, the rainbow is being permanently reinstated.
Sydney’s getting a new rainbow crossing, to be installed five years after it was covered up in 2013 under a layer of asphalt in the middle of the night by the NSW Government.
Their excuse? The painted, flat road feature was deemed a safety hazard.
Marking a centre point of Sydney’s LGBTQ capital, and installed by the City of Sydney council for the 2013 Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, the original rainbow crossing ran down Oxford Street, through Taylor Square, in the suburbs of Darlinghurst and Surry Hills.
The crossing had become both a tourist attraction and a symbol of ownership and unity for the LGBTQ communities in Sydney, and hopefully, the new rainbow will reinstate some of this local pride. And with Australia’s recent legalisation of marriage equality, it’s great timing.
After years of negotiations, Lord Mayor Clover Moore celebrated the return of the rainbow, set to return to Taylor Square at the corner of Bourke and Campbell streets, calling it a victory for Sydney’s LGBTQ community.
“Our beautiful Oxford Street rainbow crossing became a global sensation in 2013 and it was devastating when it was removed with no warning in the middle of the night,” said the Lord Mayor in a statement.
“The news that it will be reinstated is incredibly significant on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the first Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras on 24 June and a powerful acknowledgement of the importance of our LGBTQI community and history.”
“A powerful acknowledgement of the importance of our LGBTQI community and history.”
Australia’s seen its fair share of rainbow installations over the years, primarily led by DIY Rainbow project, founded by James Brechney.
Following the 2013 rainbow removal, the DIY Rainbow project chalked temporary rainbows across the city, and spurred a viral movement across the globe with supporters chalking their own rainbows on the streets worldwide.
The movement even chalked the Australian prime minister’s driveway, after Malcolm Turnbull controversially ordered a snap review of the safe schools program, which aims to help create safe and supportive environments for LGBT students, reducing bullying and discrimination through education.
Rainbow crossings have landed in cities across the globe, including San Francisco, Tel Aviv, and London, with the first ever rainbow crossing installed in West Hollywood in 2012 to promote Gay Pride Month.
Sydney’s addition will take three months to install, with construction set to start in October, pending final council sign-off.
No midnight asphalt cover-ups this time, we hope.
Additional reporting by Johnny Lieu.