Global Voices

El Salvador’s ‘Rainbow Crosswalk’ Promotes Pedestrian Safety and LGBTQ Rights

The first "rainbow crosswalk" in Central America hopes to guide steps towards a fairer world for LGBTQ communities.

Image from a video report made by El Faro TV. Shared under the Creative Commons license.

In El Salvador, more than 20 artists and LGBTQ rights activists painted crosswalks with the colors of the rainbow LGBTQ pride flag between the Boulevard of Heroes and Andes Avenue. This is the first time that a Central American country has authorized support for the LGBTQ community in this way.

To have a permanent work of art in the center of the country's capital city, the Salvadorian LGBTQ community achieved an important advance in their visibility and their normalization in society, something that goes far beyond the Gay Pride Month which is organized in June.

Watch the video report (in Spanish) created by El Faro TV. The report shows the different ways in which artists got together and prepared the art intervention. For Nicolás Rodriguez, an activist for LGBTQ rights and the main organizer behind the idea, the rainbow crosswalk can be seen as a great symbol of respect for both pedestrians and also sexual and gender diversity:

The artists are celebrating since their creation, called “The Big Show in the Sky”, will have a lasting impact on Salvadorian society. In addition to representing the sexual diversity that includes all Salvadorian citizens, the project hopes to keep pedestrians safer.

“Todos somos iguales como personas; la convivencia en paz y armonía contribuye a reducir la violencia, y esta iniciativa contribuye a que el peatón, en especial los de la comunidad LGTBI, no sufran violencia de parte de los conductores”, comentó Nicolás Rodríguez, uno de los organizadores.

“We are all the same as people; coexisting in peace and harmony contributes to reducing violence, and this initiative contributes so that the pedestrian, especially pedestrians who are members of the LGBTQ community, don't suffer from violence caused by drivers”, commented Nicolás Rodríguez, one of the organizers.

El Salvador has suffered an increase in violence against members of the LGBTQ community, especially those who are transgenders or transsexuals. In spite of certain government initiatives to protect the rights of the LGBTQ community, the number of attacks against LGBT persons has not decreased, partially because of problems associated with gang and police violence that has resulted in the murder of over 600 homosexuals, transsexuals, or transgenders since the 1990s. These acts of violence are seen today as well, not only in terms of physical violence, but other cases that include people who suffer from threats, extortions, and those expelled (from their homes and their countries).

In this context, this public work of art is a step forward for the rights of the LGBTQ community in El Salvador.

Originally published in Global Voices.

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