Royal Roads University has begun painting three new permanent Progress Pride crosswalks on their school grounds.
To mark the beginning of Pride Week, members of the university community ceremoniously painted one of the crosswalks this Friday afternoon, June 25th.
The Progress Pride crosswalks from Royal Roads University honour LGBTQ2S+ members and coalition-building allies by including the traditional Pride flag colors, plus black and brown to honour Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) in the LGBTQ2S+ community, and light blue, light pink, and white, to include the colours of the Trans Pride flag.
“Love is love and people should be able to be themselves. I am delighted Royal Roads is creating visual reminders about the importance of commemorating, educating, inspiring and celebrating our diverse community,” said Royal Roads Chancellor Nelson Chan.
The Progress Pride crosswalks are a symbol of solidarity, a symbol of LGBTQ2S+ pride, and a reminder to the Royal Roads University’s LGBTQ2S+ community that they have a safe space to be themselves, according to Royal Roads President and Vice-Chancellor, to Phillip Steenkamp.
“I grew up, like so many people my age, in a society where homosexuality was widely condemned. I lived in fear that my real identity, as a gay man, would be discovered and so I hid from myself, my family, and society,” said Steenkamp.
“It took me a lot of courage to eventually come out at the age of 38, and I’m hugely grateful for the acceptance and support I’ve had in this community.
Representatives from Royal Bay Secondary School (RBSS) joined the crosswalk painting event, including senior student Oskar Wood, who with his friends organized the painting of a Pride crosswalk on RBSS school grounds earlier this spring.
Unfortunately, the crosswalk at Royal Bay was defaced with homophobic slurs on the eve of the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, observed on May 17th.
The next day students, family and staff were out repainting the crosswalk.
It was their show of Pride that Royal Roads University said inspired them to paint its own crosswalks.
“The Royal Bay incident is a local reminder that we remain in a time of adversity for many, here and around the world,” Royal Roads President and Vice-Chancellor Philip Steenkamp said.
“Our Pride celebration is a key aspect of our work on equity, diversity and inclusion at RRU. Through projects like this, we encourage people to choose compassion and dialogue over discrimination, to choose equality and liberation over oppression.”