West Hollywood streets will soon have crosswalks that spotlight transgender citizens and queer citizens of color.
West Hollywood’s City Council voted unanimously to create crosswalks painted in the colors of the transgender flag and the Philadelphia Pride flag, according to WeHoVille. The Trans Pride flag crosswalk will be painted somewhere along Santa Monica Boulevard, though a specific spot has yet to be determined. The Public Facilities Commission and the Transgender Advisory Board will make recommendations for the crosswalk’s location.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Blade reports that the Pride Flag crosswalks at Santa Monica and San Vicente will have black and brown stripes added to them. This version of the Pride Flag appeared in Philadelphia in 2017. Artist and activist Amber Hikes promoted the flag after racially charged discourse sprung up in the city.
In their comments about the Philadelphia Pride flag additions, several councilmembers noted the importance of the colors.
“The reality is, during this pandemic, the mortality rate for black and brown lives is absolutely higher than every other person and it is incumbent upon us as the progressive city that we are to do everything that we can to recognize black and brown lives,” said Councilmember Sepi Shyne.
“As a gay white male of a certain age in this city,” added Councilmember John D’Amico, “I do strongly support this effort to bring new life and new awareness to all the kinds of ways in which we want to make sure people are represented and have a place in our community whether its spoken or painted or written.”
That doesn’t mean the change wasn’t contested. During the public comment period, several citizens phoned in to express their opposition to the black and brown colors. Some argued that the Pride flag is already all-inclusive. Though, Amber Hikes released a statement to combat this argument.
“The symbols we use, the representations we highlight, matters. It matters to people who have not always seen themselves in West Hollywood and it matters people who would prefer to keep it that way,” Hikes’ statement said.
The statement then added, “Your city and your leaders have for decades been role modeling that its possible that we embrace equity, demand justice and celebrate all of us. Updating your flag proclaims with everything that black lives more than matter. You’re saying that queer black and brown representation is who we are, that black and brown trans lives are precious and ought to be celebrated, that centering the leadership and voices of those who are impacted is the only way we will arrive at collective liberation.”
In 2012, West Hollywood became the first U.S. city to install a Pride Flag crosswalk. Now, it looks like the city is keeping with the times by updating its streets. We look forward to seeing the crosswalks in their finished form.