Late last year, Sydney councillor Adam Worling put forward a notice of motion to update our city’s rainbow crossings. He proposed that a striped chevron be added to the permanent artworks, transforming the Pride flag into the Progress Pride flag. The motion was unanimously supported – nice one, team Sydney! – and so began the transformation of the Taylor Square crossing and the path snaking through Prince Alfred Park.

“It’s visibility. It’s as simple as that,” Worling tells Broadsheet. “I want people to see flags, I want them to see rainbow crossings, I want them to see street signs and think, ‘Wow, this City of Sydney really supports us.’ When I say ‘us’, it is that big, wonderful queer collective. I can’t stress that enough, how important I think that is. You can’t be what you can’t see.”

Now, seven months later, we’ve got a bright new splash of colour across two busy walkways – just in time for the launch of Pride Month on Saturday June 1.

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The Progress Pride flag was designed in 2018 by Daniel Quasar, a non-binary creative from the US. Taking the six-coloured rainbow Pride flag, it adds a chevron striped with black, brown, white, pink and blue – representing Indigenous communities, people of colour, trans, non-binary and gender-diverse people – to better represent the LGBTQI+ community.

Before the lick of paint, Sydney’s crossings depicted the Pride flag designed by Gilbert Baker, which was first revealed in 1978 at the San Francisco Freedom Day Parade.

“I grew up in Lismore in the early ’80s,” Worling says. “I knew that I was different, but I didn’t know what that ‘different’ was. Every time I tried to show it, I certainly got that sense that I should hide this, cos this is not acceptable. There just wasn’t anyone who you thought, ‘Oh, that’s who I could be.’”

Now, Worling uses his position on the council to champion queer visibility. “It’s so that kid turns up from Dubbo or Newcastle, or wherever it is in the state, and they think this is where they need to be. I want them to see as much rainbow welcome as is possible, so they go, ‘Okay, this is my area. This is where I belong.’

“21.4 per cent of residents in the City of Sydney identify as LGBTQI+, as part of our diverse community. I think that is pretty impressive in itself. So we should have that visibility, that presence in our city. Mardi Gras is a wonderful thing, a fantastic thing, and people do come to town for that, but this rainbow crossing’s there 365 days of the year.”

Another rainbow crossing spruiking the Progress flag is in the works too. It’s destined for the curved junction of Bourke and Forbes Streets, outside Qtopia, the world’s largest LGBTQI+ museum. It’s slated to be finished by the end of the year.