Bicycles and Rainbows

Rainbow Brite
A rainbow bicycle seems the perfect image of my thoughts these days. With the Tour de France Grand Depart fast approaching — and more and more decorations going up around town that I hope to photograph tomorrow — it’s hard not to think about bicycles even more than normal. We had the Giro D’Italia through here a few years ago, but that was nothing in comparison. Crazy. I’m also hoping we’ll get some extra business out of it, since our little restaurant/wine bar is just down the street from part of the course. Too bad we weren’t open during the Giro! Now I just have to figure out how to promote Italian food for a French race.

But some great news has also been coming out of the US for the past couple of days, particularly in regard to some Supreme Court decisions. Justice Scalia may be having the worst week ever, but I have a lot of friends who have been positively affected by the upholding of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and now the decision that gay marriage should be recognized in all 50 states and protectorates. So now it’s not gay marriage, it’s just marriage. And about damn time!

My Facebook feed yesterday became one giant rainbow, and even as I type this, the WordPress CMS even has a rainbow banner. Rock on! So glad to see that once the ball started rolling in the US, with state after state beginning to recognize gay marriage, it took a surprisingly short amount of time for it to become legal nationwide. Sure, it’s been legal here in the Netherlands (the first country to legalize gay marriage) since 2001, but better late than never! There are some Gay Pride parades that were already scheduled for today in the US. I’m sure they’re going to be extra amazing now! Gefeliciteerd!

Roze ZaterdagRainbow Crossing

Celebrating Sexual Diversity

Rainbow CrossingI was going to post about the regenboog zebrapad in Utrecht (rainbow crosswalk) today anyway, and the news that the US Supreme Court has struck down DOMA makes it even more appropriate. Today, same-sex couples in the US now have more of the rights previously limited to heterosexual couples. Of course, the Netherlands was the first country in the world to recognize same-sex marriage.

Not surprisingly, many Dutch cities are also host to various festivals and events celebrating sexual diversity and equality. As well as being this year’s Roze Stad (Pink City), Utrecht is also home to the annual two-week-long Midzomergracht Festival, capped off this Saturday by Roze Zaterdag (Pink Saturday). The festival is a celebration of the gay/lesbian/trandgendered community and all it has to offer. The festival is a mix of sport, art, debate, and fun, with events going on throughout the city.

Earlier this year, the GroenLinks political party stated their intention to create a visible sign of the city’s diversity and acceptance. The annual festival was a perfect time to unveil this visual statement. As part of the festival, last week the city turned the crosswalk by Vredenburg into a rainbow. The crosswalk is meant to be a statement that anyone of any creed, color, or sexual preference is welcome in Utrecht.

To be ready for the festival, a street crew was out in the night, spraying on the bright colors for the updated crosswalk, which is located at a busy intersection. Many people use the crosswalk to get to and from the station, the open market, the shopping center, and more. It’s a great addition to the city.
Rainbow Crossing

Rainbow Crossing