The crosswalk complements the mural at the intersection of Melrose and Halsted created by queer artists in tribute to people of color in the non-binary community.
“When it comes to Pride, we are often overlooked in the community. So the crosswalk is a beautiful representation. When I saw it I was overjoyed,” Chrisette Gisélle Klima told GoPride. “I believe it will help a lot of other trans women with confidence issues. They see a beautiful flag that represents who they are.”
Fadel, who asked that her last name not be used, also appreciated the message sent by the inclusion of the trans flag. “I felt completely nonexistent up until this social renaissance of the trans community,” she said. “It really is nice to know that there are more.”
Others felt the gesture didn’t go far enough in addressing the needs of the trans community. “I think we need to be doing more than painting crosswalks to change America,” said Jenn Renoe. “We need to be providing safe spaces, safe housing, jobs, counseling, healthcare, food, and more to a community that struggles to find work and a living wage.”
Despite trans community groups and activities at the Center on Halsted and Howard Brown Health, some members of the trans community don’t feel welcomed in the neighborhood. “I’m sure I’ll feel the support anytime I go to that specific street in the neighborhood I can’t afford to live in, near the bars I don’t go to,” said Kyla Jo Foster. “People already walk all over us.”
The crosswalks were installed mid-May, just ahead of Pride month. Funds for the new rainbow crosswalks came from donations during Chicago Pride Fest and Northalsted Market Days celebrations, which are presented annually by the Northalsted Business Alliance.
The project has been in development since December 2018 with a partnership between the Northalsted Business Alliance, the Chicago Department of Transportation, and the 44th and 46th Wards.
Funds for the new rainbow crosswalks came from donations during Chicago Pride Fest and Northalsted Market Days celebrations, which are presented annually by the Northalsted Business Alliance.