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Trans Inclusivity Pedestrian Crossing Accused Of Excluding Minority

by : Poppy Bilderbeck on :
Trans Inclusivity Pedestrian Crossing Backlash - Danny Beales/TwitterDanny Beales/ Twitter

A new pedestrian crossing promoting trans inclusivity has received backlash for contradicting its aim to show that ‘everyone is welcome’. 

The new crossing was installed in Camden in a bid to make a ‘clear statement that everyone is welcome’ in the north London borough.

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However, while including the transgender community through using the blue, white and pink flag to form the road markings, the crossing has been accused of excluding another minority group in the process.

Backlash Over Trans Inclusivity Pedestrian Crossing - Alamy Alamy

On Monday, November 8, local councillor Danny Beales took to Twitter to unveil the new crossing.

He stated:

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Today we opened the first Trans flag crossing in Camden. Wonderful to make a clear statement that everyone is welcome in Camden! An honour to be involved in making this happen. #LGBWithTheT #TransRightsAreHumanRights.

However, the Cabinet Member for Planning, Regeneration, Culture and Inclusive Economy has faced criticism over the ability for the crossing to be properly viewed by all members of the community.

It was pointed out by followers that the colours of the crossing could be a ‘hazard to people with vision and cognitive disabilities’.

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Mik Scarlet, an access and inclusion expert and wheelchair user, noted what a ‘pity’ it was that the borough had pitched ‘different excluded groups against each other’.

‘To support the Trans community you’re excluding the disabled community. So easy to create designs that support both but again disabled people are let down,’ he said.

Moreover, another user who identifies themselves as being disabled, wrote, ‘Please rethink these terrible crossings. They are a hazard to people with vision and cognitive disabilities. There are other, safer (for everyone), ways to show the trans community is welcome.’

Beales responded to the concern by thanking the users for the message and offering to get in contact to ‘discuss the difficulties [they] face crossing these roads compared to black and white crossings’. ‘Happy to meet you there to show first hand,’ he said.

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Similar reveals have taken place across pedestrian crossings in Lambeth, Brighton and Oxford, Metro reports.

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Subsequently, in September, disability campaign group Transport for All wrote an open letter to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan to express ‘significant concerns’ about the ‘colourful crossings’.

It noted how the ‘use of black and white in traditional pedestrian crossings’ gives a ‘high contrast’ that is ‘essential’ for detection by those with visual impairments, to allow them to ‘navigate safely and independently’.

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Furthermore, it explained how the colours used could ’cause confusion’, ‘risk safety’ and even be ‘painful’ to look at for some with light sensitivity as well as visual impairments.

The letter, written alongside seven other disability organisations, concluded by questioning whether ‘London truly is open to everyone – including disabled Londoners and visitors’.

On November 3, Transport for All updated followers that Sadiq Khan had since responded to the letter to inform the group that the installation of new colourful crossings would be ‘pause[d]’.

Khan stated: 

In light of growing concern about the negative impacts of colourful crossings on disabled people, and new research recently received by Transport for London (TfL), I have asked TfL to introduce a temporary pause on the installation of any new colourful crossings on its network.

TfL will also be advising boroughs to temporarily pause any future colourful crossing projects.

Khan concluded that new guidance would be developed over the following 12 months around the use of such crossing artwork and that TfL would undertake ‘meaningful engagement’ with disability organisations to ensure that, in London, truly ‘everyone is welcome’.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Scope via their website, via email, or on 0808 800 3333. The line is open 9am-6pm Monday to Fridays, and 10am-6pm Saturdays and Sundays.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Mindline Trans+ on 0300 330 5468. The line is open 8pm–midnight Mondays and Fridays and is run by trans volunteers

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