Derry makes history with permanent rainbow crossing

It's been a long time coming, but Derry is now the first county in Ireland to be home to a permanent rainbow crossing.

A rainbow painted on a road

“Our city is for everybody and this crossing tells the world that everyone from any background is welcome!”

The rainbow crossing is situated between the Guildhall and the Peace Bridge at the dual carriageway, a prominent position in Derry city centre.

“It is the first crossing of its kind anywhere on the island and we are delighted to be sharing it with you,” said Jim Doherty, Chairperson of Foyle Pride Committee 2020.

Work was completed on the colourful crossing on the evening of September 6, a little over a year after Foyle Pride’s initial request for the LGBTQ+ marker.

The Derry Journal reports that the request was accepted by Minister for Infrastructure, Nichola Mallon, MLA, and that the then Mayor Brian Tierney’s office was able to accommodate the cost for the project due to an underspend in budget.

“We would like to thank the Foyle Pride Committee 2020 for initiating this project and Derry City and Strabane District Council and in particular former Mayor Brian Tierney for making it happen,” said Doherty.

The rainbow crossing, while an iconic symbol for the LGBTQ+ community, also represents Derry as a confident, diverse and progressive city at peace with itself.

Shá Gillespie, founder of the first Derry Pride Parade in 2010, remarked, “What a beautiful sight, I felt very emotional walking across it, ten years after we had our first Pride parade in the city.

“Visibility like this can save lives of young LGBTQ+ people in our community. I am very proud to have been involved in making this happen alongside Jim, Catherine and Brian.”

Catherine Hemelryk of Foyle Pride said, “Our city is for everybody and this crossing tells the world that everyone from any background is welcome!”

“I am proud to call this city my home,” she says. “When I first moved here knowing no one, I found the LGBTQ+ community instantly welcoming. This is such a special place, a place where you can make ideas a reality!

“Last year I was a member of the Foyle Pride committee and in June 2020 I remember tentatively asking if everyone thought we could make a rainbow crossing happen in the heart of our city. Since then I worked with Shá and Jim to make it happen!”

© 2021 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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