(Blogmensgo, gay blog of November 27, 2018) On November 7, 2018, the city of Canberra put into operation eight traffic lights with pictograms representing a gay or lesbian couple. This initiative celebrates the first anniversary of the Australian postal referendum on the legalisation of gay marriage in November 2017 and the opening of the SpringOUT Festival in Canberra (November 3-25, 2018).
As a reminder, the Federal Capital Territory of Canberra voted for same-sex marriage with 74 percent, the highest result in Australia. According to the 2016 census, Canberra also has the highest proportion of same-sex couples.
In the very inclusive district of Braddon, in the northern suburbs of Canberra, these decorative pedestrian lights were installed. When the light changes to green, a pictogram with a gay or lesbian couple replaces the single male from before.
The choice of Braddon is consistent because in this district Canberra's main celebration took place after the strong “yes” vote at the postal referendum. At the end of 2017, a roundabout in the rainbow colours had already been opened in Braddon.
The new traffic lights cost 5,500 AUD (3,500 EUR). The municipality does not exclude the possibility of amortizing the fixed costs by reusing these decorative traffic lights for other commemorative or festive projects. The local mayor's office is now even considering making the initiative sustainable in order to highlight Braddon's inclusive character, the diversity of its communities and the unique identity of the place.
However, the Canberra initiative is not a world premiere. Vienna had already installed “gay” pedestrian lights in 2015 to celebrate the Eurovision Song Contest held in the Austrian capital in the same year and Conchita Wurst's victory the year before. A similar event took place in 2016 in Great Britain to celebrate London Gay Pride.
Frank-S / MensGo