This week the NSW Government sent workers to Taylor Square in the dead of night and ripped up the incredibly popular rainbow crossing. Installed in the lead up to this year’s Mardi Gras as a tribute to the LGBTI community’s strong links to the area the Roads Minster Duncan Gay declared that the crossing was to be removed because it was unsafe.
From a government that allows recreational shooting in national parks without even having hunters take an eye-sight test a lecture on safety seems incredibly hypocritical. It also contradicts an independent report which found that while a few people were acting stupidly on the crossing it didn’t pose a major safety risk, a sentiment that the state’s Assistant Police Commissioner agreed with.
I’m left to wonder if the real reason the state government was so keen to get rid of the crossing was latent homophobia within the NSW Liberal party. The ironically named Minister Gay said the crossing had to be removed late at night without warning to stop “Alex Greenwich and his mates harassing workers”. I can’t help but think that this is some kind of bizarre dog whistle to homophobes in our society, implying that Mr Greenwich (the openly gay independent MP for Sydney) is in charge of a ‘gay mafia’, as noted recently in a homophobic rant from the Liberal party’s good mate Piers Ackerman.
Whatever the reasons, the rainbow is now gone, but all is not lost. In a cheeky bit of civil disobedience people across Sydney are now creating their own rainbow crossings and brightening up their streets with chalk – check it out at http://www.facebook.com/#!/DIYrainbowcrossings.