WHAT started out as one man’s personal social media gag has evolved into the symbol of a national attitude towards equality and same-sex marriage.
Scores of communities, politicians, families and friends – gay, straight or otherwise – took to Australian pavements to protest in honour of James “Breko” Brechney’s DIY Rainbow revolution during its inception last month.
Forged as a response to the removal of the rainbow crossing at Sydney’s Taylor Square, images of DIY Rainbows alongside messages of love and unity soon appeared around the world.
The rainbow revolution was born.
“It was obviously very unexpected,” DIY Rainbow pioneer Brechney told news.com.au.
“It spread across Australia and we’ve had a lot of international entries ever since.”
Among the global entries include DIY rainbows at Amsterdam, Cambodia, Fiji, New York, Sweden, London, Thailand, Zurich and Vietnam.
Even the Dalai Lama’s “people” are rumoured to have created one.
“It’s a very poignant picture, they did a great crossing,” said Brechney.
But like any great movement, it’s not been without its bumps in the road.
It faced tough critics from local councils including Newcastle City Council , whose lord mayor Jeff McCloy requested to “stop this nonsense” and unashamedly announced “we’d clean it off” if a chalk rainbow appeared outside City Hall.
”There are a lot of important things to talk about rather than being caught up in this rubbish,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ashfield Council in Sydney’s inner west washed away a DIY rainbow twice, even after the chalkers received an art permit for $5.
“It presented a potential slip hazard safety risk to pedestrians, particularly for elderly and disabled residents in the community,” said a council spokesman.
At a #DIYRainbow event at the Sydney Opera House two weeks ago, Brechney alleges he was told by police what he was doing was illegal, “but they were going to let us do it anyway”.
“The Sydney Opera House Trust has advised that chalk is not to touch the ground in their precinct,” he wrote on the Facebook event page.
“The Sydney Police stationed at the Rocks have advised us that if chalk touches the ground near the Opera House you may be escorted off the precinct.
Unable to locate a criminal law that pertained to chalking the area in question, Brechney described the response by some police and councils as “inappropriate and completely incorrect”.
According to Brechney, the negative reaction has been caused because of a misinterpretation of the definition of graffiti.
While the Taylor Square crossing remains rainbow-free, the City of Sydney council announced Monday it will create a community forum to determine whether a rainbow flag is the best substitute to support Sydney’s gay community.
In full-circle fashion, the DIY Rainbow Crossing movement, who covered Town Hall’s footsteps in a giant chalk rainbow demanding rainbows and equality were thanked by Councillor Linda Scott who brought a motion to “consider the proposal that we have a massive, massive symbol of equality at Taylor Square”.
The lesbian sister of Tony Abbott, Councillor Christine Forster said she was hoped her brother would take notice of the campaign.
“I’m hopeful it will reach all members of parliament, including my brother, so we can get some movement on this reform,” she said.
The motion to create a community forum was passed, but Brechney said a decision on the flag should have been made on the spot, without the need for the forum.
“We live in such a privileged area where councillors are debating the best way to promote LGBTQI rights, but my personal opinion is to strike while the iron’s hot and build a flag”.
Continue the conversation via Twitter @DIYRainbows | @breko | @newscomauHQ | @the_mattyoung
Author: Matt Young
Publication Date: May 15 2013