AUSTIN (KXAN) — Nearly a decade ago, the city of Austin designated a half-mile portion of Fourth Street as “Bettie Naylor Street.” Running along Fourth Street between Rio Grande Street and Congress Avenue, the recognition pays tribute to Naylor, who was a dedicated women’s and LGBTQ+ rights advocate until her death in 2012 at age 84.
Now along Bettie Naylor Street, fluorescent electrical boxes have been painted with different Pride rainbow flags to highlight changes in the movement since the 1970s. The initiative comes through Austin Transportation Department’s Artbox program and coincides with the newly painted rainbow crosswalks at the intersection of Bettie Naylor Street and Colorado Street.
Records from the Texas State Historical Association reveal Naylor was the first openly gay lobbyist to serve in Texas, beginning in the 1970s. Lobbying in representation of Equality Texas, then the Texas Gay Task Force, she advocated for LGBTQ+ individuals to use campus facilities at colleges and universities statewide.
Later in the 1980s, she helped establish a coalition comprising gay bars to help prevent them being fined due to their LGBTQ+ designated status.
Throughout the past four decades, new iterations of the Pride flag have emerged, with new details highlighting black and brown stripes for LGBTQ people of color, a chevron pattern to recognize transgender people and those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and a yellow triangle and purple circle to denote intersex people.
On Oct. 22, Austin City Council approved passing a resolution that condemned non-consensual and medically unnecessary surgeries on intersex children.
“Each letter of the LGBTQIA represents an Austinite who is an important part of our community,” said Mayor Steve Adler in a statement. “Today’s council resolution is a human rights action which will help parents and physicians – through public information – make informed decisions to prevent intersex individuals from having life-altering choices about sex and gender identity forced upon them.”