Earlier this week one of UVIC’s busiest crosswalks was repainted as a rainbow in celebration of the upcoming Pride week, and, from their website, “to affirm its support and commitment to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community.” Today that crosswalk was vandalized (photo attached). I arrived on campus at 2:15pm to attend a workshop and I wanted to check out the new crosswalk on my way. When I got there I saw a man speaking with campus security about two thick black tire marks that stretch across the crosswalk. The lines start shortly before the crosswalk, and end shortly after. It definitely appears to be deliberate. Then, on the other side of the crosswalk there was a banner erected (photo attached) which read, “Rainbows come after the storm. Queer/Trans Erasure. Policies NOT Crosswalks.” This appeared to be yet another protest of the sidewalk, but this time coming from someone within the LGBTQ community itself.
This appears to be the same argument that I have heard time and time again in recent days by those who otherwise mean well. A sort of concern that there is a limited amount of concern to go around? Many who were happy with the recent ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court on marriage equality have posted on social media sites that they refuse to celebrate this victory as there are still so many other major problems in the world today. Concern is not a limited commodity. People can paint a rainbow sidewalk and also work tirelessly on changing policy surrounding LGBTQ issues. At the same time, we can celebrate what we have achieved while at the same time continuing to fight for what is still left to be changed.
I’m tired of watching good people waste their efforts in attacking the efforts of others who aren’t putting 100% of their energy into fighting what they feel is the ‘right’ thing to fight at all times. We can work on many problems at the same time, and we can do it together in solidarity far better than we can at one another’s throats.
Justin D. Whitehead
UVIC Student in Political Science & Economic Policy
Director of Elections & External Relations – UVIC Philosophy Student’s Union
Director at Large – UVIC Greens