Pedestrian lights at a Canberra intersection have been changed from a green “walking man” to walking same-sex couples, in an Australian first.
The eight green pedestrian lights are located at the intersection of Cooyong Street with Lonsdale and Genge streets in the north Canberra suburb of Braddon, where queer Canberrans gathered to celebrate the “yes” vote a year ago.
City Renewal Authority CEO Malcolm Snow said the project would replace selected pedestrian lights around the precinct in a bid to recognise the diversity of the community and the different “characters and identites” of its places.
“This first location was selected because Braddon has distinctively been the place of celebration for Canberra’s LGBTIQ community,” Mr Snow said.
“A year ago we saw this area filled with people, colour and joy after the country voted overwhelmingly in favour of marriage equality.”
Nearly three out of every four Canberrans supported marriage equality during the postal survey, the highest ‘yes’ result in the country.
The same-sex pedestrian lights were installed on November 7 to coincide with the SpringOUT Festival, a month-long series of events celebrating LGBTIQ life in the city.
“The ‘rainbow roundabout’ installed late last year has been a popular feature, and the area has hosted significant events as part of this year’s SpringOut Festival, which includes the Spring Out Community Picnic in Haig Park,” Mr Snow said.
“Starting this project, with this theme, at this location was a really easy decision.”
He said the authority would now look for other appropriate sites where pedestrian lights at intersections could be upgraded.
The same-sex signals are similar to ones installed in Vienna, Austria in 2015 to celebrate the Eurovision Song Contest.
And in 2016, pedestrian signals with same-sex gender symbols were installed in Trafalgar Square for London’s Pride celebrations.
Last year, female pedestrian light signals were installed in Melbourne’s CBD as part of a gender equality push.