Symbol of acceptance at UBC Okanagan

The stairs of the University Centre building at Kelowna campus to be painted in rainbow of colours as support for gender equality.

  • Apr. 16, 2016 6:00 p.m.

Kelowna already has rainbow crosswalks—now it’s getting rainbow stairs.

As part of an 18-month awareness-raising project, the stairs outside the University Centre building on the UBC Okanagan campus will soon sport bright colours similar to those of the city’s rainbow crosswalks at the intersection of Pandosy Street and Leon Avenue.

“UBC believes that all people regardless of race, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation should be able to work and study in an inclusive environment,” said Jenica Frisque, an educator at UBCO’s Equity and Inclusion Office.

“These stairs will act as a symbol of UBC Okanagan’s continued commitment of support to all students and staff and its opposition to discrimination in any form.”

In many communities across North America, rainbow-coloured crosswalks have signalled support for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender people.

The UBCO Students’ Union is paying the $3,000 cost of laminating the stairs, which are set to open with their new look April 18.

The installation of the stairs follows the creation of the Pride Alliance, which was started on campus earlier this year.

According to Ben Moody, a coordinator with  UBCO’s Pride Resource Centre, while Canada has a large number of people who support equality, “we are not there yet.”

“Canada is becoming a place where a large number of people are proud to say they support issues such as gay rights and gay marriage, but that hasn’t spread everywhere,” he said.  “Kelowna itself has experienced many issues, but with things such as the rainbow crosswalks downtown and our mayor participating in the Pride march, we are making progress.”

An official opening of the rainbow stairs is scheduled for Monday, April 18, 11 a.m., at the entrance to the University Centre on the UBCO campus.

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