The painting of a rainbow-themed crosswalk in front of Galveston City Hall is fitting for a town historically rich in diversity.

Last week, workers completed painting a brightly colored crosswalk across heavily traveled 25th Street. And while the unexpected colors will naturally draw the eyes of drivers, the idea is actually to bring attention to Pride Month, an international celebration of the LGBTQ+ community.

Funding for the project was privately raised and the placement was made through the cooperation of the city.

While Houston is considered the most diverse major city in the nation, Galveston can take credit for setting the table. Long a city of immigration, Galveston’s community helped set the table for a melting pot of people, ethnicities, religions and beliefs all co-existing in a small place. And as a history point, a great migration occurred toward Houston after the Great Storm of 1900.

The city is home to dozens of Christian churches, two Jewish temples and an Islamic center. Add to the deep and rich history of early leaders in both business and politics, and you quickly recognize a pattern of openness in the core DNA of the city.

For what it is worth, the crosswalks should become a permanent fixture in the city. Doing so would set an important tone and send a symbol to residents and visitors alike that Galveston is a welcoming community regardless of race, creed, religion or orientation.

• Leonard Woolsey

Leonard Woolsey: 409-683-5207; leonard.woolsey@galvnews.com

(35) comments

Miceal O'Laochdha

Do Key West, the Castro in San Francisco, and similar traditional gay communities also have rainbow crosswalks, or is Galveston moving to position itself as the foremost gay mecca in the US?

domenico nuckols

thank you

Bailey Jones

Key West, San Francisco, West Hollywood, Long Beach, Seattle, Miami Beach, Philadelphia, Albuquerque, DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix, San Antonio, Houston - all the cool kids are doing it. But I don't get why homophobes are against them. Where else do they get the chance to literally walk on a symbol of people they hate?

Miceal O'Laochdha

Thanks for raising one of the various forms of the trendy word homophobic. It is an opportunity to help me inquire as to why anyone who is just a bit short of overflowing with enthusiasm for gay people is labeled as homophobic. Working with the English language, that term would mean someone who is afraid of homosexuals. To wish to assume everyone who disagrees with you is simply afraid of you is convenient bigotry and, while there are no doubt some portion of the population, both gay and straight, who are indeed, afraid of homosexuals, I suspect the largest portion of those with a negative reaction simply cannot understand the desire for some folks to relentlessly define themselves solely by the manner in which they have sex. Hardly seems like the basis of worldwide celebrations. I think you will find there is a very large number of people who neither hate nor are afraid of gay people; just put off by having to hear about their sex life everyday like it somehow important to everyone else on Earth. Personally, I am very proud of being left-handed and make no effort to conceal it but, I don't really expect anyone to throw a parade for me...

Bailey Jones

I don't believe I referred to you anywhere in my comment (purposely, since I don't know you), I'm not sure why you would take offense. BTW - according to the Oxford English Dictionary, a homophobe is "A person with a dislike of or prejudice against homosexual people." People who "simply cannot understand the desire for some folks to relentlessly define themselves solely by the manner in which they have sex" may not be aware of the history of persecution against gays in this country. Even well into this century, the Texas Republican platform called for the imprisonment of gays, advocated having their children seized by the state, demanded that they be excluded from all government jobs, etc. This was a form of abuse predicated entirely on "the manner in which they have sex". (In other words, it was the homophobes who raised sexuality to be such a defining characteristic, not homosexuals.) I'm not Irish, but I certainly don't complain about St Patrick's Day festivities, and I enjoy Mardi Gras despite not being Catholic. I'm neither a Christian, Jew nor Muslim, but I would never complain about those people building monuments to themselves every few blocks in my city, or celebrating their identities in a seemingly endless pageant of holidays - in fact I'm inclined to celebrate right along with them. If you had been imprisoned and denied employment, housing, marriage, children, etc., based on your sinister left handedness, and then had all of those proscriptions removed, you might indeed feel like celebrating. And rightfully so. Left handed crosswalks, anyone?

Miceal O'Laochdha

No worries Mr. Jones, no offence taken (or expressed). Just the joys of the art of disputation. Great use of Latin in tying the word “sinister†to my left-handedness. That is impressive, not so many folks have a passing knowledge of Latin anymore. Further Latin study (originally similar in Greek) would also have assisted in being aware that phobia means FEAR in English. After all, a Claustrophobe in not someone with a dislike or prejudice against enclosed spaces. They fear them. listing new definitions for trendy new words is an annual activity for dictionaries that hope to remain "relevant". No doubt the same dictionary that lists "homophobia" will tell us that "gay" means homosexual, not happy and light of spirit? I must also guess you are unaware of the abuse and even tortures inflicted on left-handed people through the millennia; it is no coincidence that the word for “left hand†(also: “perverseâ€) in Latin is "sinister".

Bailey Jones

No, I'm aware. I believe it was still common in my parents' generation for schools to force lefties to be righties. Seems ridiculous now, as will gay prejudice in a generation or two.

Paul Hyatt

How sad that we now celebrate unnatural ways....

Bailey Jones

"unnatural ways" - lol. You do know that homosexuality has been observed in almost every species of animal on the planet, right? I think what you might mean is "not what I was brought up to accept".

Carlos Ponce

Knowing Paul Hyatt to be a religious man, I believe he uses the term "unnatural" from scripture: "They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is forever worthy of praise! Amen. For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. Likewise, the men abandoned natural relations with women and burned with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error." Romans 1:26-27 This is written by another Paul, nee Saul of Tarsus. I'm not judging- just quoting scripture. But I prefer God's monuments to the "Straight lifestyle". They are called "children".[beam]

Bailey Jones

No doubt you're right, Carlos. We're fortunate to live in an age of actual science. (BTW, God also makes gay children - presumably on purpose.)

Miceal O'Laochdha

Well now, there are a couple of young male squirrels that frequent our yard and seem to display squirrelosexual behavior but I notice they are simply ignored by the other squirrels in the big oak tree. No parades yet. Seems like some species may not yet be enlightened.

Bailey Jones

You mean the other squirrels don't lock them up in cages? That sounds very enlightened to me.

Bailey Jones

I love the diversity of Galveston, it's what gives this old town life.

Steve Fouga

I agree, Bailey. I find I'm most comfortable in a diverse city, or room, for that matter. In fact, any other situation feels a bit weird. Dated, outmoded, and artificially created.

Bailey Jones

Nothing more tiresome than sitting in a room full of people just like me.[whistling]

Paul Hyatt

BTW, God does not make one homosexual as that is a choice that people make in life. To say otherwise is doing nothing but fooling yourself as science does NOT show that babies are born gay!

Bailey Jones

Factually incorrect. The science for "born gay" is firm. Homosexuals do have a choice to make, however - and that's whether to live as God made them, or to live a lie in order to avoid persecution and prejudice. Thankfully that choice gets easier for each passing generation.

Carlos Ponce

"The science for 'born gay' is firm." Can you point out a legitimate website that substantiates this claim? Lawrence Mayer, a scholar-in-residence at Johns Hopkins University's psychiatry department and a professor of statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University, and Paul McHugh, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins found "Some of the most widely held views about sexual orientation, such as the 'born that way' hypothesis, simply are not supported by science." https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/conclusion-sexuality-and-gender General article: https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/number-50-fall-2016

Steve Fouga

I'm curious what difference it makes, from a practical standpoint. If a person "chooses" to do something that doesn't affect another person, why should that other person care?

Carlos Ponce

"chooses" is not the term I would use. The term "nurture" is more accurate although misleading. Students I had who identified with the LGBT community also had a history of abuse when younger. It may be anecdotal and a relatively low sampling of the student populace.

Bailey Jones

Carlos - We should be wary of quoting anything from The New Atlantis as science, since its founders, The Ethics and Public Policy Center, describes itself as "dedicated to applying the Judeo-Christian moral tradition to critical issues of public policy". But, to answer your questions more directly, we can start with the simple observation that we've yet to find a species of animal (among animals that have sex) where homosexuality hasn't been observed. So that should negate any theories about non-biological origins. With regard to a genetic basis for homosexuality, it's hard to find scientific papers that aren't behind a paywall, but I found these - https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-15736-4 https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1529100616637616 https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evidence-based-living/201605/checking-the-science-homosexuality https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/10/giant-study-links-dna-variants-same-sex-behavior Then we can approach the question from the opposite side. If homosexuality is a choice, then one would expect that so-called "reparative therapy" would have some success - at least the same sucess that Weight Watchers or AA enjoys. The scientific consensus seems to be overhelming that it doesn't. For example, https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2009/08/therapeutic https://www.aacap.org/aacap/policy_statements/2018/Conversion_Therapy.aspx We still don't have a great understanding of the effects of all of our genes, or the effects of hormones, etc., on babies during pregnancy. But there is a firm consensus that sexual attraction is biological in origin.

Bailey Jones

Steve - because, if behavior isn't a choice, then it can't be classified as a sin. If it's not a sin, then it's impossible to use religion as a basis for prejudice and persecution. "Homosexuality is a choice" is the whole foundation for anti-gay persecution, without it, there can only be acceptance. (Oh, the horror!)

Carlos Ponce

Your www.nature.com article expresses caveats in its sampling. Your sagepub article states, "We have reviewed evidence from twin studies showing that environmental influence on sexual orientation is considerable." Your psychologytoday article states, "There is a lot we don't yet understand about how individuals develop their gender identity and sexual orientation. But it is absolutely clear that there are a wide variety of factors—both biological and social—that play into each person's sexual identity." etc. etc. There is NO scientific consensus. And comparing us to animals is not credible evidence.

Bailey Jones

Carlos, from the same article - "there is considerably more evidence supporting nonsocial causes of sexual orientation than social causes. This evidence includes the cross-culturally robust finding that adult homosexuality is strongly related to childhood gender nonconformity; moderate genetic influences demonstrated in well-sampled twin studies; the cross-culturally robust fraternal-birth-order effect on male sexual orientation; and the finding that when infant boys are surgically and socially “changed†into girls, their eventual sexual orientation is unchanged (i.e., they remain sexually attracted to females). In contrast, evidence for the most commonly hypothesized social causes of homosexuality—sexual recruitment by homosexual adults, patterns of disordered parenting, or the influence of homosexual parents—is generally weak in magnitude and distorted by numerous confounding factors." I have no doubt that many of your LGBT students were abused as children. It used to be common for people to believe that homosexuality was caused by abuse, or overprotective mothers and absent fathers. But it's a question of causality. Do boys become gay because they are abused, or are gay boys just much more likely to be the targets of abuse? As a teacher I suspect that you have observed that effeminate boys are the #1 target of bullies. Do boys "turn" gay because of a lack of paternal affection? Or do fathers turn their backs from their sons who are insufficiently masculine? Is it an overprotective mother who makes a boy gay, or do mothers of bullied boys just tend to be more protective? And, sorry to have to say it, but we are all but animals. Our self awareness rarely overwhelms our biology.

Carlos Ponce

"Do boys become gay because they are abused..." The young men I knew were abused by adults, often a family member. Bottom line is there is no consensus among scientists, psychiatrists, psychologists, etc that they were "born" that way.

Steve Fouga

I guess I don't understand why, if homosexuality is caused by abuse, it can be considered a choice, so much as an effect. Maybe Carlos can explain.

Steve Fouga

Oops, sorry, Carlos, I see you already said you don't regard homosexuality as a choice. That's good. On that we can agree.

AJ LeBlanc

Following are some quotes from a June 6 article in the GDN on Pride week: “The island has long been considered an open, accepting place …†“The island always has been an accepting place of diversity…†“There aren’t really hate crimes in Galveston, said Todd Slaughter, owner of Rumors Beach Bar, 3102 Seawall Blvd. “It’s fortunate we haven’t seen that kind of activity,†Slaughter said. “It’s been a very safe community.â€â€ Since the 1970s, there has been a significant LGBTQ community in Galveston. Perhaps my perception is incorrect since I’m not part of that community, but it seems like they have always been ordinary citizens of Galveston, the same as everyone else, no more or no less and going about their daily lives like rest of the city. That’s why I was a little surprised to see the emphasis on recent activities like Pride Week and crosswalk paint. Since it doesn’t seem like the LGBTQ community is struggling for identity or equality in Galveston, the recent activity seems a bit like a response to a problem that doesn’t appear to be there. No offense intended, just an opinion as an observer.

Bailey Jones

BTW, we would all do well to remember that today is the 3rd anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre - deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in U.S. history and the deadliest terrorist attack in the U.S. since 9/11. 49 killed, 53 wounded.

David Hardee

Bailey – while you are asking for remembrance to the Pulse nightclub massacre would you be so kind to give us your remembrance to the nation’s number one HIV patient zero Gaëtan Dugas in 1953. This man inflicted into his community the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in U.S. history. That incident propagated into the deadliest attack on the U.S. population, ever. Should we celebrate? The LGBTQ community holding forth as purely beneficial to society is an insult to intelligence and common sense. Be at least courteous and quite flaunting and promoting the lifestyle.

Bailey Jones

Sorry to have inflamed your prejudice.

David Hardee

Bailey – if the YOUR posting “Sorry to have inflamed your prejudice.” Is intended for David Hardee’s posting it is imprecise I cannot decipher what you intended to convey. “Sorry” for what? Is the SORRY because you declaring the Pulse nightclub massacre were the deadliest and my disputing you by declaring Dugas’s AID/HIV was really the deadliest? Possibly you were ignorant of Dugas – or the effect Dugas had on the LGBT community and the USA population. If you were ignorant don’t be sorry. Ignorance befalls us all. To using INFLAMING describing the tenor of my posting it is reasonable that when you were called to a task of comparing and qualifying the Pulse nightclub and Dugas affects that the challenge could seem overly belligerent and infuriating. But worst is when you reverted to calling my posting and me PREDJUDICE. No doubt that every posting carries a revealing insight to the authors psyche. And when the posting contains nothing but opinion and castigation it should be categorized as purely prejudicial. I work hard to not post purely prejudicial crap. I have read your postings and you also are working hard. But purity is unattainable. And name calling is no argument and mostly demeaning to the user.

Bailey Jones

Maybe I misread your post, if so I apologize. When I see someone disparaging the innocent victims of a terrorist attack (because it wasn't as bad as a worldwide epidemic?) I tend towards invoking prejudice. Especially when I see someone conflate celebrating community pride as "flaunting and promoting the lifestyle". Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm late for lunch at Hooters.

Wayne Holt

Having worked around politicians for many years, and seeing what is and isn't promoted, I would be very skeptical that any government-sanctioned celebration of anything is actually a reflection of deeply held convictions. Call me cynical, but I think most government flags should display a finger in the wind. From a practical standpoint, when the crosswalks were first painted, I couldn't make out what was across the road as I approached one from a distance and almost hit a guy on bicycle as I was trying to avoid the "obstruction." Is it a good idea to have public safety standards compromised for this issue? Can municipalities just put anything down on pavement they feel like representing?

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Thank you for Reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.