Rainbow Pride crossing whips up passionate debate: ‘You’re getting offended by concrete’

Anu Shukla
·4-min read

An “inclusive road crossing” painted in the colours of the progress Pride flag at York University has a triggered a Twitter storm.

Patrick O’Donnell, president of the University of York Student Union, weathered the storm after he posted a photograph of the crossing with the caption: “We’ve unveiled an inclusive crossing on Campus West featuring the colours of the progress Pride flag ahead of LGBT+ History Month next month.”

The rainbow crossing prompted furious debate with critics suggesting universities shouldn’t spend money on tiny acts of solidarity with its LGBT+ students because of “funding”.

A post made by The Leave Alliance reads: “OK, but don’t dare complain of funding problems this year. Especially when you did this whilst the campus is deserted.”

One user hit back: “Who the f**k are you to tell them what they can and can’t complain about? Have you got a pre-approved list you can share so we don’t upset anymore snowflake hardmen-wannabes in the future?”

Another wrote: “It’s not deserted – there are over 1,000 students currently calling campus home.”

The mixed bag response generated by the post led O’Donnell to follow up with another tweet proclaiming: “Seen a few people complaining about this. Just to let you know, you’re getting offended by a road crossing in a concrete car park!!”

Plenty of people jumped to O’Donnell’s defence.

“You said it! If you are offended by a pedestrian crossing, it really time to get help,” wrote one supporter. “And a life. I think it’s really lovely. So there.”

But there were others who argued the crossing symbolised the othering of LGBTQ communities.

Clayton wrote wrote: “How about instead of calling people who disagree with you snowflakes you engage in the valid criticism that it’s a patronising gesture. Most gay students just want to be treated normally not othered in this way. It’s nothing but virtue signalling.”

One LGBT+ user also took issue with the crossing and thought the money could have been spent more wisely. They said they were “almost run over on this exact crossing multiple times and as a resident LGBTQ I do not feel like this paint job is going to change that”.

Some simply joked about “solving homophobia one pedestrian crossing at a time”.

“Kingston did a stealth one during the first lockdown and I can say experienced 90 per cent fewer hate crimes though I haven’t been outside, I think that’s just a coincidence defos fixed homophobia,” read one tweet.

The crossing was unveiled ahead of LGBTQ+ History month. Its rainbow stripes are complimented by black, brown, pink, blue and white chevrons, also representing Black, brown and trans members of the LGBTQ community, and those who live with and have died from AIDS.