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    Friday, September 20, 2019-5:38:05A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Pacific Century Fellows 6th cohort resurrects Pride crosswalk in Garapan

(Press Release) — In 2016, the nonprofit group Pride Marianas led by long-time advocate Frankie Eliptico was officially recognized by the Commonwealth government.

through a proclamation signing dedicating the week of June 24-30 as CNMI Pride Week. Gov. Ralph DLG Torres called on citizens “to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people…. The whole message is to respect each other and respect who we love…that’s their choice.”

On Friday, June 21, 2019 at the intersection of Fiesta Resort and the Paseo on Coral Tree Ave at 4 p.m., the Pride rainbow crosswalk ribbon-cutting and proclamation signing ceremony will take place.

Rainbows are a symbol of the LGBTQ community. Rainbow crosswalks have become a way for our communities to show support and acceptance for the LGBTQ people who live in them. A crosswalk is a reminder to look out for the vulnerable people, to respect their right of way, and to let them pass unharmed.

Pride Marianas worked in collaboration with a wide variety of agencies such as the U.S. Department of Justice, Customs, DPS, and Corrections to name a few, to spread awareness and provide sensitivity training about the LGBTQ community and the issues they face.

DPW was an active collaborator on the project itself, to find an appropriate and legal location for the crosswalk.

The original locations proposed for this project were at prominent crosswalks located either by the Bank of Guam and the Garapan basketball court or between the T Galleria and Joeten Garpan. However, because of the rules guiding federal highways, DPW recommended the project be moved into the inner streets of Garapan.

The final locations for this symbol of peace and acceptance have been chosen on Coral Tree Ave intersecting between Fiesta Resort and the Paseo, crossing again at Coffee Tree Mall, connecting the Paseo in the heart of Garapan. The Paseo is a bastion of the Garapan tourist district. This colorful rainbow crosswalk will now connect the through the heart of the Paseo where hundreds of tourists pass each day.

For their part, the Pacific Century Fellows chose this project to promote acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning or LGBTQ people in and among our community. Results from the CDC’s 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey show that, nationwide, LGBTQ youth and those perceived as LGBTQ, are at an overwhelmingly increased risk for bullying, harassment, violence, suicide and many other negative life experiences than their heterosexual peers. The Pacific Century Fellows’ mission is to leave our place better than we found it. Promoting acceptance of LGBTQ people in our community is one part of this mission.

A second reason the PCF has chosen this project is to add to our economy by stimulating and promoting same sex tourism. Since the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges in June 2015, the CNMI has opened to a new market of tourism that is a force to be recognized.

In 2015, there were 12 same sex marriage licenses issued in the CNMI, of which, half were Chinese couples. In 2016, there were 30 same sex marriage licenses issued in the CNMI, 25 of which were between Chinese couples. In 2017, there were 88 marriage licenses issued to same sex couples in the CNMI, the majority of which were also Chinese tourist couples. For the first nine months of 2018, the Saipan Mayor’s office officiated 96 same sex weddings. This is three times the amount of heterosexual marriages conducted in the same time period.

Same sex marriage may be illegal in China, but the proximity of the CNMI has made it into a choice destination wedding location for LGBTQ Chinese couples to celebrate their union.

Celebrate Pride all this month of June! #LoveWinsInTheMarianas