Rainbow Crossings and Conspicuous Restraint: LGBTIQ Community Protest, Assembly, and Police Discretion

Thomas Crofts, Tyrone Kirchengast

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines the DIY chalk rainbow crossing movement which developed in response to the removal of the rainbow crossing on Oxford Street, Sydney. In particular, it explores why this activity did not attract police attention despite the availability of a range of criminal, public order and road transport offences, and policing powers that could have been used to prosecute and/or move chalk protesters out of regulated spaces, such as roads and intersections, and despite the fact that other similar forms of protest have attracted police attention. It finds that the removal of the crossing, the resultant community disquiet, the widespread take-up of the campaign call, and noted lack of police intervention must be read against the backdrop of two important issues. Firstly, the images on social media of DIY chalk rainbow crossings spreading worldwide evidenced that the crossings had moved from being a localised campaign about removing a signifier of the importance of Oxford Street to the LGBTIQ communities to a widely supported global campaign about equality, particularly the right to marry. As such, rainbow crossings did not pose the perceived harm or threat to the social order that other forms of protest employing public markings are considered to present.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQueering Criminology
EditorsAngela Dwyer, Matthew Ball, Thomas Crofts
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781137513342
ISBN (Print)9781137513335
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


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