A fading “rainbow crosswalk” at the University of Victoria needs some fresh paint, but school officials didn’t want to take any action until it consulted with members of the LGBTQ community.
As such, they put out $24,000 for a consultant, advertised a “queer, trans Black, Indigenous, People of Colour” town hall and offered attendees a $55 food delivery service gift card.
But according to the Times Colonist, a whole two people showed up to the town hall.
Cleo Philp of the University of Victoria Students Society, who’s transgender and uses “she/them” pronouns, said she “wasn’t surprised” by the paltry attendance as a few days prior hardly anyone showed for an LGBT staff and faculty “focus group.”
Philp also said the crosswalk meeting didn’t “seem well advertised” and that UVic “should be focusing on tangibly maintaining the safety and inclusion of trans and queer people instead of painting the road in a super duper right way.”
She added that the $24,000 paid to the “skilled external consultative group” PeerNetBC feels “like throwing money to the wind” and “could be used in better ways.”
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Local art curator and DEI consultant Regan Shrumm, a UVic alum, disagreed, saying “things just take a long time.” A September 13 update on the crosswalk concurred, saying its work “is important and it takes time.”
UVic is “doing the real work to support our community and foster a sense of belonging for all who study, work and visit here,” the statement said.
The university originally planned to redo the crosswalk three years ago; however, it held off until it had campus discussions as “there are also questions about what colours to paint, since different colours mean different things.”
Over two years ago UVic President Kevin Hall wanted to add black and brown to the crosswalk for BIPOC (black, Indigenous, people of color) folks, and the school also considered a design based on the Progress Pride flag “with additional colours meant to represent trans people, marginalized people of colour and those affected by the AIDS.”
IMAGE: Times Colonist/X