The City of Sydney Council wasted no time installing its “rainbow crossing” honouring the gay and lesbian community, after it was approved at Monday night’s Council meeting.
The crossing was laid down in the early hours of Tuesday, and completed in time for the morning rush hour and a press conference hosted by Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, which was also attended by Sydney Mardi Gras officials.
The crossing, painted in the colours of the gay pride flag, was approved when seven of the ten City of Sydney councillors voted in favour of a Lord Mayoral minute recommending it proceed.
The rainbow colours will apparently be removed in a few weeks’ time, with the state government’s Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) authority only allowing it to remain until the end of March.
Ms Moore, who was thrilled it was in place for this Saturday’s Mardi Gras Parade, said: “As well as being beautiful public art, this crossing is a real celebration of our GLBT community.”
Mr Greenwich said: “Lesbians and gay men were beaten and bashed [at the first Mardi Gras] in 1978, and homophobic violence was rife for years. To now have our flag on our street celebrates how far we have come.”
Mr Greenwich slammed the councillors who voted against the Lord Mayoral minute – Liberal Councillors Christine Forster and Edward Mandla, and Living Sydney Councillor Angela Vithoulkas – as “mean-spirited” and claimed they showed “a lack of respect” for the gay community.
But Ms Forster, who is herself in a lesbian relationship, said she voted against it because it would not be a permanent feature, and the $110,000 spent on it could be better used elsewhere.
“I fully supported … the rainbow crossings when they were promised as two permanent installations at a cost of $75,000,” she said.
Ms Vithoulkas bristled at Mr Greenwich’s barbs.
“I voted in favour of the rainbow crossings last year when they were going to be permanent,” she said.
“I have consistently advocated that the former T2 building at Taylor Square become a permanent home for the Mardi Gras Museum.
“I have consistently said Mardi Gras should have a permanent home for their float workshop.
“I am certainly not mean-spirited or anti-gay in any way, and I’m very angry that Mr Greenwich is trying to portray me this way.”