Well congratulations, gay Atlanta! You’ve finally accomplished something! Finding homes for all those gay teen runaways? Nope, that’s not it! Ending violence against trans women? Sorry, guess again! Painting a couple of crosswalks with rainbow colors for one weekend? That’s right! You did it! You managed to paint some crosswalks.
You must be so proud. You crowdfunded over $44,000 to paint some crosswalks ROY G BIV for a weekend before the city makes the organization responsible paint it back. It must be good affecting such temporary change. It’s really important that Atlanta get these crosswalks because we need to join the ranks of the other cities who have done it: Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, Austin, Philadelphia, West Hollywood, Seattle, Northampton, Massachusetts. What kind of gay city would we be if we didn’t follow the same tacky trend of all these other cities? Fuck original thought! I’ll be goddamned if we let Northampton, Massachusetts out-mainstream us! And this Gay World Order doesn’t just include the United States! This movement is international. According to the GoFundMe for this project, the crosswalks also appear in (and I quote), “international cities such as; Toronto, Vancouver, Sydney, Tele Aviv and Iceland.” So congratulations to the cities of Tele Aviv and Iceland and congratulations to the writer of this GoFundMe for his knowledge of geography.
And what better intersection for these groundbreaking crosswalks than 10th and Piedmont? After all, this is the former site of Outwrite Bookstore, an important piece of LGBT history that’s now been turned into 10th and Piedmont, a cleverly-named restaurant where you can indulge in sipping flights of vodka (“Ooh, this one tastes like fake blueberry flavoring; and this one tastes like fake butterscotch flavoring!”). This is a neighborhood of such diversity that there’s a restaurant across the street named TEN, ensuring that everything there is almost indistinguishable. This is a neighborhood of such acceptance that its most popular bar recently introduced a dress code specifically designed to give them carte blanche to expel people of color whenever they wanted. BUT GOSH YOU GUYS, AT LEAST WE HAVE RAINBOW CROSSWALKS. FOR ONE FUCKING WEEKEND.
$44,000 is a lot of money. In comparison, Lost-N-Found Youth, an organization that is trying to end LGBTQ teen homelessness is currently raising funds to build a new shelter and they’re also asking for crowdfunding. I’m sure you gays who love rainbow crosswalks are donating in droves for that one!
Oops, never mind! That’s not even half of what people gave to make these crosswalks colorful. “Fuck those homeless kids!” you say. “What they need is a rainbow crosswalk to make them feel better.” In fact, as Rainbow Crosswalks organizer Robert Sepúlveda Jr. explains on the project’s GoFundMe:
My mission behind these crosswalks are for everyone to know, whether they are just coming out, closeted, bi, trans, having difficulty accepting themselves; whether they are too afraid to share who they really are or to afraid be who they really want to be; those that family members disowned or shunned; and like many of us that have faced discrimination because of who we love and how we were born, that yes, you are welcome here, you are safe here and you will be treated with respect and dignity and the City of Atlanta itself stands behind you.
Well that’s just awesome. Next time Ma and Pa Huckabee decide it’s time to drive their sissy little son into the city and dump him there before he embarrasses them by lisping through another snakehandling ceremony, at least when his ass hits the cold, wet pavement, there will be an uplifting rainbow crosswalk there to let him know he’s accepted. Granted, he won’t have a shelter to go stay in but, hey, priorities! We need rainbow crosswalks so people know that 10th and Piedmont is a gay-friendly intersection because the one million rainbow flags hanging up everywhere there might be confusing to some people. Now, gay runaway teens will have a beautiful crosswalk to desperately panhandle next to before gay business owners shoo them away.
So, once more, congratulations, wealthy gays of Atlanta. But the battle isn’t over. You still have time to convince Mayor Kasim Reed that these life-changing crosswalks need to stay. Because, as they say in the petition, “this permanent installation will put us on the map nationally as a progressive city that embraces and supports equality for all.” Good point, Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks team, finally Atlanta will be known for its civil rights movement. Not because of Martin Luther King, Jr. Not because of gay people actually doing anything. But because maybe, just maybe, we’ll get some rainbow crosswalks, and if drunkenly puking on a rainbow after an all-nighter at Blake’s isn’t the very definition of progress, I don’t know what is.