London’s Underground system has unveiled a collection of LGBTQ signage to mark Pride.
The UK capital’s Pride festival was postponed from June until September because of Covid, but its parade still ended up being canceled earlier this month as organizers decided the event couldn’t go ahead because of ongoing restrictions.
Despite the cancellation, TfL (Transport for London), which oversees all the public transportation in the city, asked some locals to come up with Pride-themed ‘roundels’: The roundel is the name given to the Underground’s distinctive, round logo.
In a statement announcing the designs last week, TfL said the roundels had been designed by LGBTQ staff and prominent figures in the local community.
Ten roundels have been installed across the city. Each location was specially chosen by the creators to best reflect their designs, including Vauxhall station–a neighborhood with a handful of LGBTQ venues–Brixton, Caledonian Road, Hammersmith, and Baker Street.
Activist and campaigner Marc Thompson has done much to raise awareness around HIV and the challenges facing Black, gay men. His design has been installed at Brixton Underground–a neighborhood that boasts what is probably London’s largest Black population.
The design quotes the words of Joseph Beam, a Black, queer activist and writer: “Black men loving black men is a revolutionary act.”
Thompson said, “I’ve chosen these words and this image because I wanted honest visibility and representation of Black queer men to be highlighted in the London Underground. I am particularly proud that this roundel will be placed in Brixton where I was born and raised, and this station is central to my journey as a Black queer man in this city.”
Philip Normal is a designer, Labour councilor, and former Mayor of Lambeth. He’s believed to be the first gay man living with HIV to take on a mayoral role in the UK. His design, at Vauxhall station, simply states ‘Untitled’ against a black roundel.
“I came to London as a teenager dreaming of the sort of big city welcome I didn’t get in my hometown,” he said by way of explanation. “I wasn’t disappointed. You can carve your own identity and be your true self in London. You don’t have to wear a label. You can just be ‘untitled’.”
Museum curator Dan Vo came up with a design that uses Pride colors and the word ‘HAPPINESS’. Vo’s design can be found in Hammersmith Tube station.
Another person to contribute is London’s ‘Night Czar’, Amy Lamé, who helps promote the nighttime economy for City Hall.
“When I first arrived in London I was acutely aware I was walking in the steps of my LGBTQ+ fore-siblings and I would regularly take the Tube and bus to visit spots linked to them,” says Lamé, who heralds originally from New Jersey but has made London her home for the past three decades.
“I was really honored to be asked to create a roundel, and my Oscar Wilde design aims to encapsulate London’s rich LGBTQ+ history and also show a pathway to the future.
“As more people return to public transport, it feels really special that ten Pride roundels will be on display across the network – clearly showing that in London you can be who you want to be and love who you want to love.’
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, was among those to welcome the new roundels.
I’m so proud to be Mayor of such an inclusive and diverse city. This month, these new @TfL Pride roundels will be popping up all over the network to show support for our LGBTQ+ community—created by some of our most inspiring LGBTQ+ Londoners 🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/G0gHhTeBz9
— Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan (@MayorofLondon) September 22, 2021