Haringey says no to hate with LGBTQ+ rainbow crossings
The borough’s first two rainbow crossings have been officially launched as Haringey’s community and council marks LGBT History Month.
Children and parents at Woodside High in White Hart Lane, Wood Green, were left beaming with pride as they became the first school in the country to have a permanent LGBTQ+ inspired rainbow crossing right outside.
The school held an event to officially open the crossing, with guests from local community groups and Haringey Council on hand to congratulate Woodside pupils and staff on the inaugural installation.
The second Haringey Council crossing was installed in Wood Green High Road (outside the VUE Cinema). The launch event for that rainbow crossing took place just hours after Woodside High’s. It too was well attended by community groups, Haringey councillors and council staff.
The rainbow flag has come to symbolise the diversity and pride of the LGBTQ+ community and the rights movement worldwide.
Cllr Seema Chandwani, Haringey Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, worked with the school to get the crossing installed. She said:
The young people at Woodside High are amazing – they have campaigned for this LGBTQ+ rainbow crossing and we’re delighted we could make it happen. What an achievement to be the first school in the country to do this. These young people are playing an important role in showing that diversity, inclusivity and equality is something we celebrate here in Haringey. We can all learn a lesson from them.
Woodside High headteacher Gerry Robinson said:
I am hugely proud of our students in their successful campaign to have the first rainbow crossing outside a school in the UK.
This rainbow crossing stands for our commitment to championing equality, for our children’s rights to be respected and able to thrive as themselves, in school and beyond.
I am enormously grateful to Haringey Council for supporting this important cause and for championing both equality and student voice.
Haringey Council’s rainbow crossing acts as a public celebration of equality and diversity, and as a reminder of the work that still needs to be done to support the LGBTQ+ community here in Haringey, London and across the world.
Zina Etheridge, Chief Executive at the council, said:
Equality and inclusion are massive parts of daily life at Haringey Council and I’m thrilled that we can show this publicly with our rainbow crossing.
In Haringey, we embrace diversity and want our residents and communities to know that we are here with them and are working hard to make sure our borough is a place where people feel safe and proud to be themselves.
Wise Thoughts is a Haringey-based, LGBTQI+ and BAME arts charity and community organisation that has been operating in the borough over the last 20 years.
The group’s artistic director, Niranjan Kamatkar, said:
Haringey has a proud and long-standing history of promoting community cohesion and LGBTQI+ rights.
Initiatives such as these two rainbow crossings bring much-needed visibility and hence an acceptance of LGBTQI+ people who live, work and/or just socialise in our borough.
This week Woodside High revealed they had received more than 200 abusive messages on social media about the crossing – and they hit back with a clear message.
The hundreds of abusive messages regarding Woodside's work on equality will not deter us from continuing our work. In fact, it only encourages us further for we do not want our students to go out into the world and face such hate. Never has there been a more important time to stand up to hate in all its forms and education is a key part of that.
Far from shying away from the issue, Haringey Council rallied around the school – and went on to install a second crossing in Wood Green in a clear message against hate.
Cllr Chandwani added:
There is absolutely no place for division in our borough. We’re very proud of the young people for lobbying so strongly about an issue that really matters to us all. We stand in solidarity with them, and the LGBTQ+ community here in Haringey and beyond, against discrimination and prejudice of any kind.
Haringey defied Section 28 in the 1980s and 1990s. We have a long history of fighting for equality and we will not back down when it comes down to fighting prejudice. We have installed a second rainbow crossing outside Wood Green station, in the busiest part of our borough, to send a clear message to everyone that people who identify as LGBTQ+ have a right to be here and we’re proud that they are.
It is important that we stand together to celebrate the crossings and against any discrimination and oppression.
We have always stood united in Haringey to tackle any hate that may still exist in pockets of the borough. Hopefully, the permanent rainbow crossing round the corner will lead more, and happier, LGBTQI+ people to Wise Thoughts and our rainbow hub in Wood Green Library.