The vibrant colours of the Pride crosswalk in downtown Lethbridge are now disfigured by streaks of black rubber.
Less than a month since it was first painted, tire treads in multiple traffic lanes are clearly visible over the permanent display.
“Ultimately, the vandalism is very discouraging to the community,” Lethbridge Pride Society chair Lane Sterr said.
Sterr worries how the damage will impact young LGBTQ+ people in the city.
“What are queer youth thinking when they look at the crosswalk and see that there’s tire marks?” Sterr said.
“It could portray a message that they’re not welcome in the community.
“They could have reservations about potentially coming out or exploring their gender or sexual identity.”
It’s not the first time a Pride crosswalk has been targeted in Lethbridge.
In 2017, manure and rust paint were spread over a temporary rainbow walkway within weeks of the city’s Pride parade.
“We feel the same disappointment and lack of progress every year,” Cris Miller said.
The OUTreach Southern Alberta Society vice-president sees queer and trans people using her organization’s support programming.
Miller believes those individuals will use the vandalism to measure their treatment within the community.
“I think there is an element of people looking at these (Pride symbols) and using them to gauge how safe their experience can be,” Miller said.
“Unfortunately its been proven over and over again the safety is not there.”
The city is currently determining how to fix the crosswalk.
“We understand how many members of the community love and embrace these beautiful crosswalks and the disappointment we share in people vandalizing them,” reads a statement from the city to Global News.
“We are aware of the marks and are working with the contractor who installed the crosswalk to see how they can be removed.”
Meanwhile, Sterr is continuing to share the message of inclusion with Pride month days away.
“There’s work to do and we’re happy to pound the pavement,” Sterr said.
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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