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Image for The end of the rainbow

The end of the rainbow

As Darlinghurst residents looked on in horror last night, Oxford Street’s rainbow crossing was hacked apart and replaced with tombstone-evoking asphalt.

Starting around 9:30pm, a team of workers moved quickly to tear up our special crossing’s colours and pour new asphalt in stages so the street was always partially left open for traffic during the process.

The official reason for its destruction is that it is “unsafe”, but Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich and Mayor Clover Moore has shown the safety risk assessment of the crossing is “low risk”, clearly debuking Roads and Maritime Services concern.

Greenwich suggested emergency crews were dispatched last night from Ultimo to vanquish the crossing, again raising questions about government resource allocation to instill discrimination and also begging the question about where priorities lie.

“It’s one thing to call for the removal, but to divert RMS crews under the guise of emergency road works is an aggressive act that Sydneysiders will not forget,” he reacts angrily.

“Local businesses, residents, and the City of Sydney Council were not given any notice. This even surprised the RMS crew who at the last minute were instructed to remove the crossing.

“The Premier must apologise for this aggressive act against both Sydney and the LGBTI community.”

Spirited social commentator Dan Nolan (@dannolan) was quick with the mirth once the first pictures emerged of the excavators digging up the short-lived iconic of inclusion, tweeting: “The rainbow road is literally the only example of roadworks happening efficiently.”

A disappointed Mardi Gras CEO Michael Rolik typed his reaction on Facebook: “Round 1 goes to bureaucratic flunkies for ripping up the rainbow crossing tonight. Round 2 is a float in next years Parade painting the whole route as a rainbow road.”


There on Oxford Street last night, many passers-by stopped and stared as their beloved crossing was torn apart. Some shouted “idiots!” and “just stop!” to the road workers carrying out their bleak task.

It was all too much for one suited gent who did his best to block the roadworks. “There was a guy who jumped onto the rainbow crossing while it was being removed at around 12am,” says a Same Same reader who took the pictures of the incident show below.

“The road workers were very angry at the guy, and you can see the bobcat driver getting out ready to scream at him in one of the photos.”

That concerned protester wasn’t the only one who wanted our rainbow to stick around – over 15,000 people signed an online petition to make it permanent, like the one that now proudly sits in San Francisco’s gay Castro district.

Here’s how the Oxford Street crossing looks this morning… what a shame!

Our crossing was not just a bit of fun. It was a valuable symbol of diversity and a worthy addition to Sydney’s tourism map. Thanks for the memories to all those that helped make it happen.

RIP Rainbow Crossing.

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Comments

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Enquvist

Enquvist said on the 11th Apr, 2013

Safety issues? If it was safety issues it would never have been approved in the first place. And I'm sorry but giving approval for a part of the road to be destroyed is ridiclous! They couldn't have painted over it?? (I was not in support of it being removed at all but ripping up the actual road to remove it makes it seem even more offensive).

MilesHeffernan

MilesHeffernan said on the 11th Apr, 2013

And here I was thinking that political own goals were the preferred strategy of the Labor Party. Well done Baz. Good to see you too can cause self-inflicted wounds, and unnecessarily hurt your constituents in the process

mark_

mark_ said on the 11th Apr, 2013

All this drama is just because the state govt can't get along with the local govt. And vice versa.

NewFarmer

NewFarmer said on the 11th Apr, 2013

And there endeth the last great campaign for the inclusion of overpriveliged middle class white gays' concerns in road safety policy.

pete1000

pete1000 said on the 11th Apr, 2013

Another assault on GLBTI community
Ifs its not the poilce harassing etc you on Oxford street
its Barry O Farrell and his street gang chopping up the symbol of gay pride (and lots of tourist dollars )
And then we have Julia and Co (not forgetting Tony )who are so backward with their views on gay marriage.Pathetic !
What a disgrace has Australia become.

JayTee

JayTee said on the 11th Apr, 2013



What because white middle class gays know they should put a seatbelt on, not drink and drive, and cross the street at the lights? Please don't make this about class, because 2 can play at that game.

mark_

mark_ said on the 11th Apr, 2013



I find that hard to believe— just like I'm sceptical that the old mardi gras generates tourists bringing in $30,000,000 pa.

But surely, SURELY, we could have a more uplifting symbol than dirty gutters and dirty road surfaces where motor cars can drive all over us!!

MilesHeffernan

MilesHeffernan said on the 11th Apr, 2013

Oh yes as over $35K was allocated for ripping up of the crossing - not bad for a night's work

yogi

yogi said on the 11th Apr, 2013

It was all a nice idea, & I am all for a bit of fun & a symbolic gesture, but at the end of the day the whole thing turned out to be a complete waste of money. All I can think about are all the other ways in which the money could have been spent, perhaps towards people in need, or with life threatening concerns. I supported the crossing to stay, however, it was more about not wasting any more money on ripping it up, than needing it to stay. I don't need a bit of paint slapped on the Rd to feel validated or part of a community, if you get out there & be an active member of our community with a positive intention to help people & be nice, you will feel that support & validation anyway. I also don't need to feel more special than any other community ( that would be narcissistic) I only want to feel equal.

Yeah it was nice to see some color around a very bland area of oxford st, but that was about it for me. Its was great to see so many people get behind & support keeping the crossing, however, it made me wonder, why we don't see this kind support from our community for things like, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, depression, bully behaviour, self esteem concerns, violence (just to name a few) instead of a bit of paint on the Rd.

This makes me ask the questions. Does this kind of response to a rainbow crossing highlite a little bit of a selfish undertone to our community when we have far more pressing concerns to be worried about? Just a little something I thought I would put out their for people to think about. What is the bigger picture here?

I do also understand that the NSW government has bigger plans for Oxford st, like light rail.

JayTee

JayTee said on the 11th Apr, 2013



I do also understand that the NSW government has bigger plans for Oxford st, like light rail.

Yes like taking over our mardi gras and turning it into a government money making machine with no mention of the civil rights movement it is.

blaah

blaah said on the 11th Apr, 2013

Good grief! Why are they ripping it up, its a delight? In fact it should be expanded to completely encompass, Taylors square and the Crown st, Rily St and Whitlam Square intersections! Bloody Barry!

stufish7

stufish7 said on the 11th Apr, 2013

I think this state govt. is f%$&#d.... that's all :-(

Mama Catastrophe

Mama Catastrophe said on the 11th Apr, 2013

Oh Lord – here we go again

More hysterics – really? Haven't we spoken about this before?


FACTS. FATCS. FACTS. FACTS. FACTS


1. If you need a painted bit of road to feel proud there something seriously wrong with you
2. You scream you want equality yet you also want things like this crossing which only serve to ghettoise an area as a GLBTIQ precinct
3. Tourist dollars – are you serious? Do you honestly think removing this will sway peoples decisions to visit Sydney? Mama can just hear a couple of gay guys in the US speaking about their holiday plans. “Yeah I know they got that harbour, the bridge, the beaches and the blue mountains, but that bit of rainbow roads gone so it’s no use going there now”


Jesus the GLBTIQ are hard done by in this country. God forbid they actually take their heads out of their own arses and consider the poor folks who are imprisoned, tortured, or even put to death for just being gay.


And what a disgrace that you can’t look outside your own self-interest dramas and be proud of the standard of living Australia provides in comparison to many other countries.

Mama Catastrophe

Mama Catastrophe said on the 11th Apr, 2013

Those dicks that jumped in front of the bobcats are fucking idiots. Mama used to work supporting young crew who were doing traineeships in construction and she knows these machines are fucking dangerous and if you don’t follow certain procedure’s around them you can easily be killed. The operator who appears to be jumping off the machinery to have a go at the protester has every right to be angry. It would be him who has to live with the guilt if the protester had of been injured. Of course if the protester had been killed or injured it would have given some of the GLBTIQ another a martyr – once again forgetting that their own actions contributed to their downfall - just liked the sainted Jamie Jackson.

pete1000

pete1000 said on the 11th Apr, 2013

MUMMY have you been hitting that booze again?
Talk about Hysteria?
Are you sure your'e GLBTI ..under the guise of a drag queen
Smells a bit suss to me

pete1000

pete1000 said on the 11th Apr, 2013

And I don't think GLBTI rights are a self interest drama mummsy
You attitude explains why GLBTI rghts are not progressing in this country let alone any of the other issues we have with Oxford Street-GLBTI OXFORD STREET-

Mark31

Mark31 said on the 11th Apr, 2013

It must be undone by all means!!! I agree with every word of Enquvist it has nothing to do with safety. Smells more like some anti gay people gathered signatures and proposed this change. The one who approved this is a lousy someone and homophobic , definitely sitting in the wrong chair!

NewFarmer

NewFarmer said on the 11th Apr, 2013



I don't understand what that means.

pete1000

pete1000 said on the 11th Apr, 2013

It means they should paint the rainbow back onto the road...and on the other crossings like they were supposed to.

NewFarmer

NewFarmer said on the 11th Apr, 2013



i don't think it means that

Mama Catastrophe

Mama Catastrophe said on the 11th Apr, 2013


If Mama drinks, its so she can deal with the cretinous ideology displayed by some people


Do actually know the definition of hysteria?

Are you sure your'e GLBTI ..under the guise of a drag queen
Smells a bit suss to me
Well you’ve finally discovered Mamas secret. She’s not actually GLBTIQ. She is, as you so cleverly worked out, a member of the NSW police force on secondment to Victoria to train the coppers down here on how to properly harass the Melb GLBTIQ folks. She’s just been an active member of Same Same for the last 5 years and written 29 articles for the site as part of her cover. Well spotted.


Oh, fuck off. You are not trying to further the interests of the population in general or even GLBTIQ in other countries. Your main concern is to further the interests of GLBTIQ in Australia – a group you belong to. This is self-interest


No. Mama’s attitude is that she does not find the fact that GLBTIQ cannot marry in Australia as important as the human rights violations that are occurring worldwide. As far as Mama knows, no GLBTIQ folks in Australia have actually been imprisoned, tortured, or killed because of them not being able to marry. As for the alleged issues you claim with Oxford St – it’s about time you took off your vintage rose coloured glasses and see the strip as it really is. The heyday of it being a gay mecca is long gone and it is now nothing more than street with a couple of gay bars on it. It is also full of anti-social behaviour, which warrants a police presence in order to make it safe for folks to visit.


There you go again. Screaming for equality but not ready to give up your gay ghetto

DavoJimbo

DavoJimbo said on the 11th Apr, 2013

while I agree that the rainbow crossing is much ado about very little, if someone feels that strongly about it, then fucking go to bunnings and buy 6 cans of spray paint and "re-create" your own....for the record, I mean at your own home, on your driveway... :-), not random streets all over the gay ghetto.... masking tape makes for neater lines.... just saying!

storyboy50

storyboy50 said on the 11th Apr, 2013

Barry O'Farrell's true colours come shining through! A thief in the night like Joh Bjelke-Petersen.

dub_boy

dub_boy said on the 11th Apr, 2013

that is shocking, and even more shocking (and what we are all used to here in Australia) is that it's dressed up as 'safety issues'. I don't know what is worse; A homophobic Government or lying about being homophobic? Scumbag government here in Australia.

Barrin

Barrin said on the 11th Apr, 2013


The heyday of it being a gay mecca is long gone and it is now nothing more than street with a couple of gay bars on it. It is also full of anti-social behaviour, which warrants a police presence in order to make it safe for folks to visit.


This defeatist attitude baffles me. Why can't we claim Oxford St back? A rainbow crossing is a good way to start. Say what you like about a ghetto lifestyle.... at least it WAS safe. If it's reached the point where we only have that one night a year in March with drunk straights (who were always there anyway) and police breathing down our neck, then I guess we have to accept it. But don't tell me that's a good thing or even desirable.

MrAsh

MrAsh said on the 11th Apr, 2013



The Mardi Gras board have done a good job of that themselves, without any government assistance.

DavoJimbo

DavoJimbo said on the 11th Apr, 2013

that is the point - it is perfectly safe for me to meet up with my gay friends at almost ANY venue in Sydney and not worry about being gay. I have no need to
go to Oxford street, any more. It is not a pleasant environment and I feel less safe walking down the side walk there than any other part of the city. And many of the places are second rate and charge just as much as nicer bars elsewhere.

JayTee

JayTee said on the 11th Apr, 2013



People are already doing it!!

http://photos-a.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/s720x720/602204_352227924897895_890599767_n.jpg?dl=1

dreadcircus

dreadcircus said on the 11th Apr, 2013

Meanwhile in the real world transgender people struggle to gain employment and housing. Young LGBTQI people struggle at home, school and from violence. Suicide rates are still high. HIV is still rampant and marriage seems no closer. People can cry a river that paint on a road represents them even though the largest LGBTQI festival in the world just finished its 35th run. C'mon there are bigger and better things to focus on. Maybe the lack of direction of the entire community?

It makes me laugh how so often G part of the alphabet soup seem to only care about their needs making the rest of us letters just along for the ride. Then you go to a marraige rally and witness a heap of gay men taking the piss dressed as nuns and costumes left over from the big parade. No wonder there is no progress.

Grow up!!!

Dsquare

Dsquare said on the 11th Apr, 2013



Well you’ve finally discovered Mamas secret. She’s not actually GLBTIQ. She is, as you so cleverly worked out, a member of the NSW police force on secondment to Victoria to train the coppers down here on how to properly harass the Melb GLBTIQ folks. She’s just been an active member of Same Same for the last 5 years and written 29 articles for the site as part of her cover. Well spotted.


Constable Catastrophe?

JayTee

JayTee said on the 11th Apr, 2013

that is the point - it is perfectly safe for me to meet up with my gay friends at almost ANY venue in Sydney and not worry about being gay. I have no need to
go to Oxford street, any more. It is not a pleasant environment and I feel less safe walking down the side walk there than any other part of the city. And many of the places are second rate and charge just as much as nicer bars elsewhere.

You feel safe walking down the main st of Penrith holding your same sex partners hand? Bankstown? Mount Druitt?

Midaki

Midaki said on the 11th Apr, 2013

I'm in tears reading this. I'm not that politically minded but seeing the rainbow crossing and what it brought to Sydney just made me smile. I have a lot of memories of Oxford Street from the past 30 years and how we got to be where we are today but the removal of the crossing is like yet another step backward to acceptance. It's.....just......not.......right!

MrAsh

MrAsh said on the 11th Apr, 2013

People are already doing it!!

http://photos-a.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/s720x720/602204_352227924897895_890599767_n.jpg?dl=1

I want to know why Breko coloured the rainbow from outside in, instead of inside out, or from left to right, or right to left, which would have been easier.

Also the kids around my neighbourhood have drawn rainbows on the side streets and footpaths for years and I don't live that far from Taylor Square.

mg0105

mg0105 said on the 12th Apr, 2013

Let's all stop acting like 5 year old girls who crack sad cos they didn't get that pony for their birthday. The rainbow crossing (and it's removal) was funded as part of the 35th anniversary of Mardis Gras and it was only ever meant to be there for a month. And the safety issues only arose after they put it in place - I'm guessing nobody thought peope would actually sit in the middle of the road to have their pics taken or treat it like a permaent pedestrian mall. Go figure.

DavoJimbo

DavoJimbo said on the 12th Apr, 2013




what the fuck would I be doing in one of those places? shudders and runs back inside to make a soothing cuppa.

mg0105

mg0105 said on the 12th Apr, 2013

Actually, the more you look into this, it really is just a beat up. When Matt Akersten first reported on the Rainbow Crossing, back before Mardis Gras, his story included the following:

The cost of the crossing is surprisingly expensive %u2013 altogether Roads and Maritime Services put it at $110,000, which includes its painting, compulsory video surveillance and eventual removal.

The RMS has also specified that the colours be removed at the end of March, but both Moore and Greenwich are hoping for an extension to this.

So Clover and Alex (et al) might just want to pull their heads in - no-one called for its removal, it was always temporary; no-one diverted an RMS crew, they were always going to remove it and the funding was always there to do it; and well "hoping for an extension" seems to have yielded the same results for them as my hoping to win Lotto.

Asherbella

Asherbella said on the 12th Apr, 2013

It's a shame the rainbow crossing was removed. I liked it. It would've made for a lovely permanent fixture - a symbolic statement of gay diversity, inclusion and solidarity. It cost $30, 000 for the rainbow to be removed - what a waste of money.

pete1000

pete1000 said on the 12th Apr, 2013

From the smh today
"It was really sad to see the state government rip up the rainbow crossing. France and Uruguay legalised gay marriage this week and we can't even seem to paint a strip of bitumen in Sydney," Mr Brechney said.

EggsBenedict

EggsBenedict said on the 12th Apr, 2013



You're not suggesting a government that DOESN'T waste taxpayer's money, I hope? That's just too radical to consider :-)

pete1000

pete1000 said on the 12th Apr, 2013

Omg
Do you think that they could possibly think that we are equal? :)

Tigerland

Tigerland said on the 12th Apr, 2013

Omg
Do you think that they could possibly think that we are equal? :)

pete makes Ernesto look like Albert Einstein.:)

ammonite

ammonite said on the 12th Apr, 2013

does anyone know what happens to bits of road when they rip them up?

if it's in a tip somewhere and i was down there i would so go and get some. that's $100,000 rainbow bitumen.

JayTee

JayTee said on the 12th Apr, 2013



I thought you said we no longer needed to live in a ghetto and where safe and welcomed and able to socialise anywhere in Australia. Or have you exized bogan Australia from the migration zone considered to be Australia?

JayTee

JayTee said on the 12th Apr, 2013

does anyone know what happens to bits of road when they rip them up?

if it's in a tip somewhere and i was down there i would so go and get some. that's $100,000 rainbow bitumen.

It was actually covered over not ripped up, so essentially its still there, but just not visible.

Barrin

Barrin said on the 12th Apr, 2013

does anyone know what happens to bits of road when they rip them up?

if it's in a tip somewhere and i was down there i would so go and get some. that's $100,000 rainbow bitumen.

Like the Berlin wall?
I'd like too agree but I think it's a bit of a stretch.

MrAsh

MrAsh said on the 12th Apr, 2013



No, it was actually ripped up. I witnessed them tearing the bitumen up and disposing it in a dumpster.

ammonite

ammonite said on the 13th Apr, 2013

@MrAsh

follow the dumpster!




@Barrin

i could make some art with it, and put some in my garden, and keep some in my house as a curio collectible artifact and doorstop and paperweight. it would be awesome to have a piece.


and yes actually i bet there are even people who would pay money for bits like the berlin wall.

pete1000

pete1000 said on the 13th Apr, 2013

Do you think thee would be a big enough size of the bitumen to shove in tigerlands mouth to shut him up so we don't have to hear the drivel that comes out of it