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City unveils rainbow crosswalks in honor of National Coming Out Day

Ryn Gonzales of OutYouth thanks the city for showing people of all walks of life are welcome in Austin. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

The intersection at Bettie Naylor and Colorado Streets is now a sea of colorful stripes where Austin City Council and Austin LGBTQ Quality of Life Advisory cut the ceremonial ribbon on newly-minted rainbow crosswalks in honor of National Coming Out Day.

City officials, LGBTQ advocates and Mayor Steve Adler met at the intersection on Monday morning to announce the crosswalks, painted with a brand new Progressive Pride flag. The intersection will be closed until completion—approximately 5 p.m. The City also released the 2021 LGBTQ+ Quality of Life study today.

Adler said the gesture was long-overdue, announcing Austin had become the third most populous per capita city for the LGBTQ community in the country, and a symbol of belonging for everyone in Austin.

The mayor and city officials cut a rainbow ceremonial ribbon to unveil the new crosswalks. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

"For many here in our community, seeing this physical representation of a stated city value is long overdue but a really welcome sight," Adler said. "These crosswalks are an indication of Austin's spirit of inclusion, unity and acceptance. These vibrant colors painted on our streets will stand as a beacon and a symbol of diversity to everyone."

The location was intentional, according to the city. The crosswalks sit along Bettie Naylor, a portion of W. 4th Street named after the LGBTQ visibility activist, and in the heart of Austin's gay nightlife scene.

In addition to the four crosswalks, three nearby utility boxes will also be decorated as part of Austin Transportation's Art Boxes program—the box in the same intersection will have a Progressive Pride flag and a purple circle in a yellow triangle for intersex individuals.

The intersection of Bettie Naylor and Colorado streets is now painted in the LBGTQ community's symbolic colors. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

Ryn Gonzales, operations & program director for OutYouth and chair of the LGBTQ Quality of Life Commission, said they were excited to see a step in the right direction and they look forward to advancing Austin together.

"This is a great symbolic first step for our community—our kids are going to feel a little bit more seen than they did yesterday and all the days before," Gonzales said. "We cannot do this alone, we have to do it together. The thing that I've always loved about our community: we've always done it together. Maybe not always perfect but together, and always in the spirit of making sure that no one is left behind, no one is forgotten."

The design is a mixture of the six colors of the rainbow for Pride, black and brown to represent the community of color; baby blue, white and pink for the Transgender community. According to the City, the colors were requested by the community.

"Everyone in Austin, no matter what street corridor or crosswalk that they're on, gets to feel like this is home for them," Gonzales said.


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