City News

Rainbow flag to fly forever

The rainbow flag at Taylor Square. Source: twitter.com

By James Elton-Pym

A huge 6.2 by 3.4 metre rainbow flag in Taylor Square, Darlinghurst has been declared permanent following a unanimous City of Sydney decision this week.

The flag was originally approved in March last year, but only as a temporary fixture to honour the past and present contributions of LGBTIQ people in the area until permanent artwork could be constructed in 2018.

The motion tabled by Liberal councillor Christine Forster at Monday’s council meeting ensured the existing flag would be included in, rather than replaced by, the 2018 artwork.

“Look it was a no brainer in my opinion. Of course it stays there. Why would we take it down?” Ms Forster told City Hub just after the March 30 meeting at Town Hall.

“I had people talking to me saying that they would get dozens of people up here to shout and scream about it if I thought that it wasn’t going to get through, but I was fairly confident it would.”

The flag, which is the largest rainbow flag in Sydney, was installed in October 2014 and was a central part of this year’s Mardi Gras parade.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore provoked criticism from Ms Forster on social media when she allegedly referred to the flag as “temporary” at a recent public address. Ms Forster, speaking to media at the time, called those comments “pointed”.

“The Lord Mayor is insisting that the flag will be removed, but I think that would fly in the face of the wishes of the community, which I believe would want to see it remain, alongside the artwork,” Ms Forster said at the time.

As this week’s council meeting Ms Moore said she did not recall ever using the word “temporary”, but Ms Forster again insisted she had.

The installation of the flag cost the council $52,000 in taxpayer money.

Head of the Darlinghurst Business Partnership Stephan Gyory said the flag helped enliven Taylor Square and was supported by local business.

“I don’t think anyone has come to Australia to visit the flagpole, but I reckon anyone who gets to Taylor Square goes ‘that’s a pretty cool flagpole’,” Mr Gyory said.

Some social media users drew comparisons between the decision over the rainbow flag and the State government’s decision to temove a rainbow crossing at Taylor Square.

“Please keep the rainbow flag at Taylor Square. Why spend more tax dollars to remove it? It’s the rainbow crossing all over again.” wrote Twitter user ‘Matt Effect’.

The ‘rainbow crossing’, a colourful pedestrian crossing once also located on Oxford Street, was controversially removed by the State government following the 2013 Mardi Gras parade.

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