BY SHAUN KNITTEL
One of the many projects that Social Outreach Seattle (SOSea), the social justice nonprofit that I founded, is working on is the Rainbow Crosswalk project. The crosswalks, painted the same colors of the Rainbow Pride flag, are intended to be used as a signal that Capitol Hill is a safe place where the LGBTQ community is celebrated.
On the surface this would seem like an easy mission to accomplish. And, in fact, for the most part it has been. Most people see the feel-good project for what it is: something that adds a little color to the neighborhood, does not make driving or crossing the street for pedestrians unsafe and is non-offensive. It’s just rainbows for God’s sake.
News of our “little project” seemed to incense straight people. On December 21, KIRO 7 did a story on SOSea and our Rainbow Crosswalk project. What was meant to be a cute snapshot of a community organization doing something positive turned out to be something much bigger. Mr. and Ms. Bigot began to comment on the story and, in doing so, proved to me that Seattle, when it comes to the acceptance and inclusion of the LGBT community, really isn’t that progressive at all.
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