John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
The lonesome guy in the “WALK” light has a buddy.
There’s a new way to cross the street in Vienna: Grab ahold of the nearest same-sex person, and walk with a magical heart floating above your heads.
That’s to take the city’s revamped traffic lights literally, at least. Dozens of signals now feature pairs of men or women enjoying loving strolls. They’re meant to herald next week’s Eurovision Song Contest, which Reuters describes as “one of the world's most popular kitsch cultural events.” But they also work as a fantastic troll of bigots, who must now use painful, circuitous routes to avoid obeying the gay lights.
Here’s more from Reuters:
The campaign is intended to present Vienna as an open-minded city and also to improve traffic safety as the unusual symbols attract the attention of drivers and pedestrians, a spokeswoman for Vienna's city lighting department said.
The city of Vienna will then collate data to see whether the campaign has indeed helped traffic safety, she added.
The Eurovision Song Contest, now in its 60th year, has long been a fixture on the international gay calendar.
Last year, bearded transvestite Conchita Wurst won the contest for Austria with the song "Rise like a Phoenix" and immediately became a global gay icon.
That same Conchita will appear in Vienna this Saturday with Charlize Theron, Jean Paul Gaultier, and others at an HIV/AIDS fundraiser. (If you’re not familiar with the singer, immediately head to this incredible music video.) Now, more lights:
vienna is gonna have lesbian and gay traffic lights for a while now lmao pic.twitter.com/tdet995mih— GALAXY SUPERSONE (@soosonee) May 11, 2015