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Calls for London’s first Progress Pride crossing to honour trans and HIV-positive communities and people of colour

Emma Powys Maurice November 27, 2020
Progress Pride pedestrian crossing

A newly-installed Progress Pride pedestrian crossing in Washington DC (Shannon Finney/Getty)

A Liberal Democrat councillor is calling for London’s first rainbow pedestrian crossing in Progress Pride colours to honour trans, HIV-positive people and people of colour.

Councillor Victor Chamberlain’s borough of Southwark is home to one of the largest and most diverse queer populations in the country, yet has no permanent feature to recognise Pride.

Chamberlain is now lobbying to change that, citing a recent study that found 58 per cent of locals believe there is no sense of a LGBT+ community in Southwark, and more than half don’t feel safe there. More than 70 per cent felt that mainstream services weren’t inclusive of LGBT+ clients.

“It’s now time the council did something about this and very visibly showed solidarity with our diverse LGBT+ communities,” he said.

“These visible signs of equality are not tokenism. It is vital that we have visible, prominent and physical signs that our diverse LGBT+ citizens are integral to our community.

“Southwark Council must show that LGBT+ people are seen and valued. This is especially so given homophobic hate crime has doubled over the past few years and we no longer have any permanent safe spaces for LGBT+ people in Southwark.”

So far 15 London boroughs have pedestrian crossings in the six-colour Pride flag, which for the past 42 years has been the internationally recognised symbol of the LGBT+ community.

But Chamberlain wants Southwark to go a step further with a permanent Progress Pride rainbow pedestrian crossing that reflects the diversity of the borough’s LGBT+ community.

Designed by Daniel Quasar in 2018, the Progress Pride flag includes a chevron of black and brown stripes to represent people of colour, and blue, pink and white for trans people. The white also symbolises those who have been lost to HIV/AIDS, and the chevron points to the right to show forward movement, indicating progress.

The flag is increasingly being adopted in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, with the Mayor of London’s office and the UK Southbank Centre among the many using it to represent LGBT+ Pride.

The highways department has agreed to consider councillor Chamberlain’s proposal. “We recognise that measures like rainbow crossings can make a big difference and so we’ve a work stream underway to investigate the various practicalities involved in installation,” a spokesperson said.

More: black lives matter, liberal democrat, London, Progress Pride flag, Southwark, Victor Chamberlain

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