Oak Lawn and Cedar Springs just got a hell of a lot more vibrant. Last week, new rainbow crosswalks were installed at the Dallas intersection, the first of 10 rainbow crosswalks planned for the strip at the Cedar Springs neighborhood, which has long served as a bar and nightlife district for Dallas’ LGBTQ community.
Last year, we reported that the four crosswalks at Throckmorton and Cedar Springs would receive a festive makeover in the form of rainbow paint. Following fundraisers by various local private groups and business owners, as well as a sponsorship by Southwest Airlines, over $128,000 was raised to fund the crosswalks. Rainbow crosswalks will now be installed at Reagan Street, Knight Street and the Douglas Avenue, bringing the number of rainbow crosswalks to 10. With 10 crosswalks, Dallas will have the most rainbow crosswalks of any city in the nation.
Frequenters of the strip, as well as local business owners and employees, hope the new walkways will cultivate a sense of acceptance and convey a welcoming message indicating that the area is safe for people of all gender identities and sexual orientations.
“The Dallas Crossroads was always a safe haven for me when my friends and I would drive from Oklahoma to this amazing community,” says Sean Baugh, director of the Turtle Creek Chorale. "The Crossroads is an important symbol of our community and has been an important gathering place for so many of us. Seeing the city recognize the importance of this patch of the city makes my heart proud. Now, young people from everywhere can visit this festive area and know without a doubt, they belong.”
Dallas has become a leading LGBTQ-friendly city in the nation. Oak Lawn/Cedar Springs was voted "Best Gayborhood" by Out Traveler in 2004 and in 2016, and Dallas-Fort Worth scored a perfect 100 score on the Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index, which ranks cities based on laws and policies that are conducive to inclusivity.
While most are excited about the new rainbow crosswalks, some fear they may be vandalized, something the community will not take sitting down.
“I am living for the crosswalks,” says Marina Browne, an employee of JR’s Bar and Grill. "What a wonderful thing for Dallas — plus it didn’t leave any colors out. To me this is history-changing; no more hiding who we are as a community. We know there will be vandalism due to ignorance out there, but all I know, I’ll be out there to clean up their hate mess.”
Although Alexandre’s owner Lee Daugherty isn’t worried about potential vandalizing, he still is always ready to fight for his community.
“The community should be proud we've come this far and accomplished so much,” Daugherty says. “Cedar Springs is a special place and it's getting its recognition, finally. I'm not worried about vandalization. We are used to the haters. And if they want to come down to Cedar Springs and start some shit, I say, ‘Fuck around and find out.’”
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