Vandals paint over city's rainbow crossing to protest drag queen event

The storytelling session is expected to still go ahead along with more protests and police intervention.

A rainbow crossing which commemorated the LGBTQIA+ community on a busy high street has been vandalised with white paint, with a religious group believed to be behind the act.

On Monday evening members of the Destiny Church were spotted holding placards and cones, blocking off a section of Gladstone Road in Gisborne — a town situated on the northeast coast of New Zealand's North Island.

The rainbow crossing on Gladstone Road in Gisborne (right) was painted over with white paint (left) on Monday.
Members of the Destiny Church vandalised the rainbow crossing in Gisborne with white paint on Monday. Source: Facebook and Twitter

They susbsequently used paint rollers to cover the pedestrian crossing in what is believed to be a direct and targeted response to a story-telling session held at the local library which is hosted by drag queens.

Religious group will no longer 'tolerate' story-telling session

A video was posted online showing a group of three men painting over the crossing. The Destiny Church claim the story-telling session which is aimed at teenagers aged 16 years and above encourages the "sexualisation of children" and called the two drag performers "sex workers".

"We have blocked all the roads because we are not going to tolerate this anymore... this is our statement," a member of the Destiny Church said in the video. "As you can see our main street is lit up like a rainbow, and we want to let you know that the rainbow actually comes from God."

Three men work together to cover white paint onto the rainbow crossing with paint rollers.
Men covered the rainbow crossing in white paint while a member of the Destiny Church slammed the story-telling session at the local library. Source: Facebook
More than 10 protestors stand beside the now white painted crossing in Gisborne, New Zealand..
Members of the Destiny Church in Gisborne held placards in protest of the library program which involves drag queens. Source: Twitter

The Founder of Destiny Church, Brian Tamaki, shared his support for the act online. The church have scheduled a protest march on Tuesday afternoon before the story-telling session is due to commence.

Queer community call out 'hate' crime

The chair of Tairāwhiti Rainbow Collective (TRC) — a local group made up of LGBTQIA+ individuals and allies — responded to the vandalism and called it out as an act of "hate".

"Standing up for what you believe in is a just cause and a given right of any democracy. However, to silence the voices of others who struggle to come to terms with their identities because they don’t fit your norm, is outright hate," Chris Shotton said, the Gisborne Herald reported.

He pointed to the higher rates of suicide experienced within the community and reminded all of those against the program, which aims to guide teenagers, that no one chooses their sexuality.

"We aren’t perverts, paedophiles, sexual predators, and we most certainly don’t choose this life. Why would we choose a life in society that hates us with such venom and ferocity," he said.

The storytelling session is reportedly still going ahead despite Monday's vandalism and a police presence is expected.

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