Rainbow Crossings

© Photograph: Olaya Tapia

A small Swedish town paints its pedestrian crossings in rainbow colours to remind residents to respect LGBTQ rights and that it's okay to be different.

BULLIED FOR BEING DIFFERENT

When Joakim Månsson Bengtsson grew up in the small Swedish town of Södra Sandby in the Municipality of Lund, he was bullied for being different. By suggesting that the municipality should paint its pedestrian crossings in rainbow colours, both in the city centre and in Södra Sandby and other small towns and villages, he wanted to make sure that other LGBTQ young people wouldn't experience the same thing.

A CITIZEN'S PROPOSAL

The rainbow crossings are the result of a Lund Proposal (Lundaförslag), which allows ordinary citizens to raise support for a proposal. If more than 100 Lund inhabitants support the proposal, the municipal council has to consider it. As a former member of the municipal council, Joakim Månsson Bengtsson had experience of the process of Lund proposals and could follow the proposal until it was adopted and implemented. The process of the proposal resulted in a compromise. The municipality would not paint the pedestrian crossings in rainbow colours but instead paint road signs all over the municipality in rainbow colours. Although the proposal was not adopted in its whole Joakim regards it as a victory. Now rainbow colours will be seen in public areas all over the municipality, and that was the goal. 

RAINBOW CROSSINGS IN RURAL SETTINGS

Painting pedestrian crossings or road signs in rainbow colours reminds everyone moving around the city or villages about LGBTQ rights: about the right to be who you are and the right to be proud of being you. The project is inspired by similar initiatives, for instance in Brussels, but it is the first time that it is done in small, rural settings in Sweden – where it is most needed!

Project owner
Joakim Månsson Bengtsson
Former Member of municipal council of Lund, Spokesperson in Social policy for the political party of Feminist Initiative