TRU has chalked up another first by installing a rainbow crosswalk on campus to remind passersby of the importance of tolerating the
sexual orientation of others.
The painted crosswalk, the first in the B.C. Interior, was completed over the weekend with paint provided by the TRU student union and work done by facilities staff.
The “pride” crossing is part of a student union campaign to promote harmony among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or queer individuals and the social mainstream.
Some may question the need for such symbolism in view of social change since the 1970s.
There has been a gradual shift toward acceptance of LGBTQ and there is a continual reminder in the celebrated custom of pride parades, including one on the TRU campus each year. Do we have to resort to permanent and public installations to drive the point home?
In a word, yes, but that may not be apparent to everyone in the mainstream, particularly those who don’t routinely share notes or conversation with the LGBTQ community.
Liberalization of Canadian society is most profoundly expressed in its young people, just as it was 40 years ago as the postwar generation came of age. Post-secondary institutions have traditionally played a leading-edge role in social change and this transition follows that same pattern.
On campus, people are less inclined to conceal their differences and more likely to treat others as equals regardless of sexual orientation. They see beyond the superficial. That is not always the case, though, and it’s certainly not true at a high school level, where students can be driven to suicide due to an identity over which they have no control.
The time to reach offending attitudes is when they first arrive on campus in order to make a lasting impression that TRU is a place of harmony. Though more subtle than a sign citing rules of conduct, a rainbow crosswalk is more likely to be received by open minds.
The message can’t be lost on international students, either, particularly those from Russia and developing nations where human rights are not as advanced, where persecution and social intolerance of LGBTQ individuals continues.
A rainbow can show the way.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.