April 6, 2017 at 10:29 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Petition seeks rainbow crosswalks on 17th Street
rainbow crosswalks, gay news, Washington Blade

(Image courtesy Change.org)

A gay member of the Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission on April 5 posted an online petition calling on Mayor Muriel Bowser to arrange for the installation of rainbow colored crosswalks on a section of 17th Street, N.W. where several gay bars and restaurants are located.

Randy Downs, who lives on the section of 17th Street where he hopes the rainbow crosswalks will be placed, states in his Change.org petition that they would “instill a sense of community” and “advance the awareness of the diversity and equality through public art and community outreach.”

He said that he and others who have joined his campaign for the crosswalks would like them to be placed in several existing crosswalks along 17th Street between P and R Streets, N.W.

In recognition of the longstanding presence of LGBT people who live, work, and patronize businesses in that location, former D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty arranged for that section of the street to be assigned the name Frank Kameny Way in honor of the late D.C. gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny.

Downs noted that the petition, which was posted online about 9 a.m. Wednesday, had over 200 signatures as of early afternoon the same day.

He posted his petition less than a week after the subject of the Rainbow Flag became widely discussed on the occasion of the death on March 31 of Gilbert Baker, 65, a gay artist who is credited with creating the Rainbow Flag in 1978 in San Francisco.

Rainbow crosswalks have appeared in other U.S. cities in recent years, including San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta and Philadelphia.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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