London is set to see its first ever rainbow zebra crossing as part of Transport for London’s support for the Pride in London event on Saturday 28 June.
Pride in London is one the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, & transgender (LGBT) events in the world. It is funded by the Mayor of London and this year will see Transport for London’s iconic open-top bus at the head of the parade.
The crossing was made possible after an initial approach by Mike Freer, Conservative MP for Finchley and Golders Green. Mr. Freer first suggested the idea in 2012, since then Transport for London LGBT+ Network has worked with Westminster council, The Metropolitan Police, Underbelly, London LGBT+ Community Pride and sub-contractors Applied Outdoor Media to make the crossing a reality.
This year the event will be celebrated in the usual way, starting with a Parade through central London. The Parade will be made up of walking groups and floats, which enable LGBT+ charities and organisations to highlight the work they do.
The Managing Director of Surface Transport at Transport for London, Leon Daniels, said; “We’re delighted that for this year’s Pride in London event, we will be installing the first ever rainbow zebra crossing in London to celebrate the event; and as we continue our Year of the Bus celebrations, it’s only fitting that we continue with the tradition of our iconic open top bus, transporting our staff around in the parade.”
TfL’s LGBT+ Network has also commissioned 200 limited edition posters in conjunction with the London Transport Museum, which will go on sale in the run up to Pride to celebrate the Year of the Bus. 75 Barclay’s Cycle Hire bikes will also carry a special Ride with Pride logo during Pride week.
Martyn Loukes, Chair of TfL’s LGBT+ Network, speaking about the rainbow crossing said; “I promised last year that I would make this happen, and I’m really pleased that for one day, people will be able to compose their very own Beatles photo or selfie on our Rainbow Crossing. They’ll also be able to ride with pride on one of our specially adorned Barclays Cycle Hire bikes. Every year London Pride gets bigger and better and this shows real support from so many organisations to make this crossing happen and is a fantastic thing for the LGBT+ Community.”
The new rainbow crossing is similar to ones that have appeared in Tel Aviv, Sydney and Brighton. It will be in place for one day only during the parade at the junction of Pall Mall East and Suffolk Street, on the site of an existing pedestrian crossing. The parade will be passing very close to the colourful crossing, which will provide onlookers with a great photo opportunity.
Recently, Brighton unveiled the UK’s first temporary ‘rainbow crossing’ to celebrate diversity, inclusiveness and support Pride 2014. Local artists and actress Heather Peace unveiled the crossing, on Madeira Drive, next to Brighton beach on 10th June 2014.
Welcoming the installation, Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas said: “This is a great tribute to that spirit of diversity and inclusiveness embraced by our city. Brighton is such a creative, colourful place and the new rainbow crossing wonderfully reflects that. It’s a lovely and fitting addition in the run up to Pride 2014.”
However, the rainbow road crossing has now been removed a week after it first appeared. Some residents called for the crossing to become a permanent feature. The Pride in London event celebrates equality in the UK’s capital. London is home to a large and diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. LGBT people make a major contribution to the economy and dynamism, helping make London one of the most exciting and diverse cities in the world.
Currently, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is working on a number of projects with groups across London to tackle the challenges that LGBT communities face and to celebrate the contribution that the community makes to the city. Key objectives include ending homophobic issues and supporting the LGBT community.
What additional initiatives could be set up to nurture diversity and equality?