Another Pride crosswalk has been vandalized in Greater Victoria, this time in Brentwood Bay where municipal crews are busy removing slurs and scribbles that were painted onto the rainbow display along Wallace Drive.
The vandalism happened sometime Monday night or Tuesday morning near Bayside Middle School, and a photo captured by a CHEK News reporter shows the red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple crosswalk now covered in white spray paint.
“Obviously, it’s very sad and disheartening to see that, especially in this day and age,” Victoria Pride Society (VPS) co-vice president Ace Mann told CHEK News Tuesday.
“It is sad. It’s frustrating that one small act of vandalism overshadows so much work and resilience and the incredible nature of this community,” said Mann.
“There are some fringe people and some minority voices that are really speaking up right now, and they have found comfort in the fact that they are not alone.”
Pride Week is now underway in Victoria, and the vandalism comes less than a week after a similar incident outside G.R. Pearkes Recreation Centre in Saanich. That’s where a crosswalk celebrating the 2SLGBTQIA+ community was defaced with black paint.
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Earlier in June, the City of Langford installed a number of Pride Month banners along Goldstream Avenue, but in the first 24 hours they were displayed, five were vandalized with red spray paint.
Yet for Mann, these incidents aren’t surprising.
“People are still persecuted,” said Mann. “The queer community is resilient because we have had so much oppression and so much systemic oppression. Someone even yelled ‘boo’ at the flag-raising that we did at the legislature on Thursday.”
That’s when provincial politicians, including B.C. Premier David Eby, gathered to raise the flag. At the time, Eby called the Saanich vandalism reprehensible.
“To see someone paint over a Pride sidewalk is disgusting,” he said.
The District of Central Saanich tells CHEK News in a statement that it’s disappointed and saddened to see the crosswalk near Bayside School vandalized.
“The intent of installing the crosswalk and the rainbow benches is to ensure that all members of our community know that they are welcomed and supported here,” the district said.
Now Mann has a message for those responsible for the graffiti.
“I’m sorry that they are scared, and I’m sorry that they are not able to see that more love in the world doesn’t make their love any less valid,” added Mann.
“We are not scary people, we are just trying to live our lives. There is no wrong way to love, and I hope they are able to realize that we just want to be. It’s okay for us to all live in the same world together, cohesively, with compassion. Our message is love, and that will always win.”
Central Saanich police are investigating and asking anyone who witnessed the incident near Bayside School, including those with dashcam footage, to call them at 250-652-4441.
We are saddened and disappointed that the rainbow crosswalk at Bayside School was vandalized last night. The incident is under investigation by the Central Saanich Police. Thank you to the #CSaan staff working to remove the graffiti. pic.twitter.com/wX8IWF5T79
— Central Saanich (@CSaanich) July 4, 2023