Tuesday, August 9, 2022
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50 years of Pride: TfL has its biggest poster exhibition to highlight LGBT+ people’s stories

Transport for London (TfL) is celebrating the 50 years of the Pride movement with a collection of LGBT+ community and people-focused posters across the public transport network – including on the Elizabeth line for the first time.  

Customers will start to see a collection of specially curated and designed Pride-themed photos and posters appearing in London Underground, London Overground, DLR, Elizabeth line and bus stations this week, ahead of the Pride in London celebrations this weekend.

The Pride-themed posters carry stories from a wide range of LGBT+ communities and businesses and shine a spotlight on the role, legacy and support they provide for their peers. Through these stories, TfL hopes to highlight the diverse communities in London it serves daily and how public transport connects LGBT+ communities. 

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The featured contributors include The Cocoa Butter Club, an award-winning performance company for performers of colour, Gay’s The Word, the UK’s oldest LGBT+ independent bookshop and the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, an institutional LGBT+ entertainment and nightlife venue. Inclusive sports clubs and teams are also featured including Stonewall FC, London Cruisers and London Otters Rowing Club.  

Polari – a code language used by some members of LGBT+ communities to converse discreetly – is featured in a series of posters which will be displayed in TfL stations, including those on the recently opened Elizabeth line.

Additionally, portraits of more than 20 TfL employees and contractors will be on display in Vauxhall and Green Park Underground stations and Poplar DLR station. The posters represent a range of roles in the transport industry – from a customer service assistant to an electrical engineer and a project manager. They tell the stories of staff members being their authentic selves in their roles and are designed to encourage others to do the same. Also in Vauxhall and Green Park Tube station, posters designed by staff members will be on show expressing their creative take on Pride, including messages of encouragement.  

TfL is proud to have been part of the Pride parade since 2006. A decorated fully electric bus will accompany TfL marchers in the Pride in London 2022 parade on Saturday 2 July. The TfL contingent will march under banners of the Women, Faith, RACE, Carers, Parent and Guardians, and Disability Staff Network groups as well as the LGBT+ banner to highlight the many aspects of the LGBT+ communities of London.  The iconic red bus has been provided by bus operator Abellio and the decorative signage is being fully funded by TfL’s advertising partner, Global. 

Marcia Williams, TfL’s Director of Diversity, Inclusion & Talent, said: “TfL is a strong and constant supporter of Pride and LGBT+ communities and we’re committed to showing our continuous support all year round. This year, we’re opening a broader platform to experiences, voices and creativity from the community and we hope the wide collection of posters will engage, delight and inspire customers using the network.  

“Everyone has the right to travel and feel safe whilst travelling on public transport, and we continue to do all we can to ensure public transport remains a safe and welcoming environment for all. ” 

Cassie Leon, The Cocoa Butter Club’s arts, nightlife and cabaret producer, said: “The Cocoa Butter Club are really excited to be teaming up with TfL. We rely on the Tubes and trains to transport all of our incredibly talented artists around London. From east to south and west for carnivals, The Cocoa Butter Club gets about. The Night Tube has been a game changer in cabaret and we are so excited to be highlighted.” 

Kate Landers, London Cruisers’ Club Committee Member, said: “As an LGBTQ+ basketball team in London, we are excited to be part of the TfL Pride creative series. We had a lot of fun and laughs during the photo shoot at our local training spot in Bethnal Green. Cruisers are about community, friendship and inclusion; so it’s fantastic to work with TfL and use their platform (literally!) to promote these values in the city we all call home.”

Emma Gant, London Otters’ PR and Social Media Officer, said: “We’re so pleased to be a part of the TfL Pride campaign. It’s so important to showcase safe LGBTQ+ spaces across London and show the brilliant network and community that exists in our capital.”

Uli Lenart, Gay’s the Word’s bookseller, said: “Over the years the bus and the Tube have always held an important role in connecting queer lives and enabling us to unearth the precious queer venues where we could meet, discover our community and forge a sense of belonging. From seasoned queens covertly gossiping in Polari huddled on the top deck of an old Routemaster as it wound its way along Piccadilly in the ’60s, to members of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners headed to their meeting at The Bell pub in King’s Cross in the ’80s to jumping on the Underground and heading up to Tottenham Court Road to see old friends at First Out Cafe in the ’90s, on to the non-binary or bisexual young adults of today excitedly enroute to visit Gay’s the Word bookshop for the first time, the bus and the Tube network has carried the LGBTQ+ communities to marches and parades and parties and pubs and clubs and back to theirs and then out again for as long as there has been somewhere to go and a queer culture to revel in. Thanks for getting us there, TfL.” 

TfL has carried out a number of schemes to promote inclusivity including the introduction of diverse traffic signals and a range of rainbow-wrapped vehicles on the transport network. TfL also regularly features inclusive roundel designs bearing colours of the Rainbow, and Bi and Trans Pride flags on the network during Pride. 

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