TRU unveils rainbow crosswalk

'It's a public demonstration that our institution is a positive space in Kamloops'

Thompson Rivers University's campus is now wearing inclusiveness on its very streets with the unveiling of a rainbow pedestrian crosswalk on Monday.

The colourful display, which replaces a typical white striped crossing, was installed in support of those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ).

The TRU student union provided the paint and the university's facilities services staff rolled it on over the weekend.

"It's a public demonstration that our institution is a positive space in Kamloops," said Nic Zdunich, the union's LGBTQ representative. "TRU has been great to work with on this project."

The crosswalk is located between the human resources building and Old Main.

"It's a prime location because it gets all the traffic from the people that get off the bus," said Zdunich.

The rainbow crosswalk campaign is a worldwide initiative first seen in West Hollywood in 2012 during gay pride month.

A chalk rainbow crossing was first used as a protest symbol in Sydney, Australia, last April when the city planned to remove a similar temporary installation that had been part of the Sydney Mardi Gras.

Since then, protest rainbow crossings have been popping up all over the world, some of them in front of Russian embassies after the country's leaders passed laws forbidding "gay propaganda."

Vancouver's West End saw the first permanent rainbow crosswalk in western Canada and TRU is the site of the first one in B.C.'s Interior.

It's part of a broader student union campaign that will soon reach out to local business owners in the hopes of creating more "pride positive" spaces and build more harmony between the LGBTQ community and the rest of Kamloops.

"The LGBTQ community has been gaining more visibility throughout the world. But Kamloops is a smaller city so it takes time for everything to trickle through," said Zdunich. "But I think the rainbow crosswalk is a step in the right direction."

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