From today, Londoners using the Tube network will see Pride roundels specially designed by staff and prominent figures in the LGBTQ+ London Community as part of Transport for London’s (TfL’s) continuing support for the community.
Ten roundels have been installed across London, carrying positive messages and vibrant colours as well as visual representations of the London LGBTQ+ community. Each location was specially chosen by the creators to best reflect their designs, including Vauxhall station – which is in the heart of an area of strong significance to the LGBTQ+ community – Brixton, Caledonian Road, Hammersmith and Baker Street.
Five thought-provoking designs have been created by TfL staff and five more have been created by talented and inspiring LGBTQ+ Londoners: London’s Night Czar, Amy Lamé; broadcaster and historian, Tim Dunn; activist and campaigner, Marc Thompson; designer and creator of the ‘La’ T-shirt, Philip Normal and prominent museum curator, Dan Vo.
Their designs carry stories of lived experiences, personal journeys and hopes for the future across the LGBTQ+ community as well as how the pandemic has affected people in the community and more widely. They bring together the diversity and unity that symbolise Pride with the roundel, a symbol of London for more than 100 years, and also aim to spread messages of love, support, compassion and hope on the public transport network through the medium of design. Information about the designer, as well as explanations about the design of the roundel are displayed next to the designs.
Through this collaboration, TfL is celebrating and supporting the LGBTQ+ community every day and intends to give a platform and voice for positive messages of hope, love, compassion and unity and to invite important conversations around issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community.
In addition to the special roundels, there will also be a public poster campaign featuring proud TfL LGBTQ+ staff members on display in North Greenwich, Vauxhall and Green Park Tube stations. These posters will feature photographs of TfL staff and their partners, encouraging everyone to be proud of who they are and show their support for the LGBTQ+ community. Both the posters and the roundels will be on display for at least a month.
The London Transport Museum (LTM) is also celebrating Pride all year round with London’s original LGBTQ+ rainbow pedestrian crossing now on display at LTM in Covent Garden. Commissioned by TfL’s LGBTQ+ Staff Network Group, OUTbound, the colourful crossing was temporarily installed at the junction of Pall Mall East and Suffolk Street in 2014. It was later collected by LTM to preserve the role transport plays in the capital today.
As the city recovers from the pandemic, public transport plays a central role in enabling life after lockdown – whether that is meeting friends, families or support circles, going to work or place of study or exploring London and what it has to offer.
Amy Lame, London’s Night Czar who created a design, said: “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. I was really honoured 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.”
Marc Thompson, whose design is featured said: “I’m really delighted to have been asked to provide A design for a roundel for Transport for London for Pride. It’s a real honour to have the words of Joseph Beam, a Black, queer activist and writer in such a prominent position. 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.”
Sarah, an analyst at TfL whose design is also featured said: “I am so excited that my design has been chosen. I feel that I am making a positive contribution towards making a difference. This means so much to me in particular for the future of our younger generation. I know our daughters will be so proud. Hoping that one day we will all be treated equally regardless of who we are or who we love and if we believe, anything is possible.”
Marcia Williams, TfL’s Director of Diversity, Inclusion & Talent said: “We celebrate the LGBTQ+ community every day, and Pride is an important celebration to us. This year, at TfL, to mark our continuous commitment and support we have installed roundels specially designed by staff and prominent figures in the LGBTQ+ London community. We have transformed our stations and platforms into a place for positive messages of hope, love, compassion and unity that encourage important conversations around issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community, as we see more people returning to the public transport network to enjoy what London has to offer.”
This year’s initiative builds on TfL’s strong legacy in supporting Pride since it was formed. 2021 would have marked the 15th anniversary of TfL officially participating in London’s Pride Parade and TfL has carried out a number of schemes to promote inclusivity during that time – including the introduction of diversity traffic signals, a range of rainbow-wrapped vehicles on the transport network, as well as regularly featuring inclusive roundel designs bearing colours of the Rainbow, and Bi and Trans Pride flags on the network during Pride.