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A picture of a man “refusing” to step on a gay pride rainbow crosswalk has gone viral on Twitter.
The image posted by @SteveFranssen yesterday morning is captioned, “This man in the state of Georgia is refusing to walk on the LGBTQ crosswalks. A hero! The eyes of the world are watching!”
This man in the state of Georgia is refusing to walk on the LGBTQ crosswalks.— Steve Franssen (@SteveFranssen) January 12, 2020
The eyes of the world are watching! pic.twitter.com/vvaWrjXbzC
As of this afternoon, the tweet had 3,500 comments and 2,000 likes; or, as the Twitter kids like to say, was getting harshly ratioed.
Plenty of people agreed with the sentiment, which seems to be something along the lines of “if you step on the rainbow, you might get some gay on you, ewww, gay.”
Their comments—such as one who called the gay pride crosswalks “enforced virtue signalling” and the one that called LGBTQ people “deviants” whose misappropriation of the rainbow symbol tempts God to destroy the world with fire (not making this up)—were drowned out by people who disagreed with them in a sort of intra-thread ratioing.
Most people who commented were just there to dunk on the tweet.
Several people were inspired. “If we paint rainbow lines in front of voting stations, they can’t enter y’all, chalk it up like people use salt lines to keep out demons,” suggested @HallionI.
A hero for being stuck on a street corner because he's afraid of paint on the street?— The Resistance (@TaritaC) January 14, 2020
I want a follow up with him, just living on that corner. Trapped by rainbows....— Beary Chapin Carpenter (@philipwalker) January 14, 2020
Oh, so suddenly it's BIGOTED to be so upset by a symbol that reminds you that gay people exist that you fold your arms and stomp your little feet and refuse to cross the road?????— Iain Watson (@iain_watson) January 14, 2020
I prefer the term “hetero bitch” for these people, because it’s funny to watch the people who use gay as an insult suddenly lose their shit when their sexual orientation is on the receiving end.— Pete (@Petepete72x) January 14, 2020
Friggin' libtard crosswalks!— Ken Simon (@KenSimonSays) January 14, 2020
Does he also stay indoors when it's forecast sunshine and showers just in case a rainbow appears in the sky and he's afraid he might find a pot of cock at the end of it?— Jean-NA Toss A Coin To Your Skinner (@JeannaLStars) January 14, 2020
I'm going find out where you live and paint a rainbow around your house.— pere uwu (@StoicalSophist) January 14, 2020
And they call us snowflakes pic.twitter.com/hsb32vrp6d— GaymerJay 💋 (@Gymnfreak) January 14, 2020
I accidentally liked their tweet for a moment thinking it was satire, but, oof, that's a genuine post. They might need the full box.— 🏳️🌈Highlander🏴 (@HighlandRainbow) January 14, 2020
Going to pin him in by painting rainbow flags in the ground— A Flock of Seagals (@ASegals) January 14, 2020
As a few Twitter users pointed out, there’s a couple of problems with the original tweet: 1) the photo is actually a five-year-old Associated Press image; and 2) the man didn’t “refuse” to cross anything.
The original image by photographer David Goldman is literally called, “A pedestrian waits to cross a rainbow painted crosswalk in midtown Atlanta, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015.”
Or, this is "A pedestrian waits to cross a rainbow painted crosswalk in midtown Atlanta Friday, Oct. 9, 2015." -- which is the rather official caption for this photo taken 5+ years ago by @DavidGoldmanAP.— Grand New Decade Moff 🦄 (@GrandMoffJoseph) January 14, 2020
/The eyes of Google image search are watching too pic.twitter.com/WUOlq04QM9
People will be happy to know that no one was hurt in the making of this inaccurate tweet.
The crosswalks, though, have become a permanent feature of downtown Atlanta.
Claire Goforth is a Jacksonville, Florida-based journalist covering politics, culture, justice, and unicorns. Her work has appeared in publications ranging from regional alt-weeklies to Al Jazeera.