PEDESTRIANS have been left baffled after the traditional “green man” on traffic lights was replaced with symbols celebrating same-sex relationships. Day-trippers and tourists complained they don’t know which way to turn while crossing streets in central London after being confronted by a series of arrows pointing in different directions. Around 50 sets of traffic lights near busy Trafalgar Square had their “walk” and “green man” images replaced with the new designs in June to coincide with an annual Gay Pride Festival. Officials said the seven different same-sex symbols were designed to show Transport for London’s “support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans diversity” in the capital. The solitary “green man”, who has been featured on UK traffic lights since 1969, has now been joined by a male partner or replaced with two green women holding hands. Other lights feature pairs of female and male gender symbols, or a transgender symbol which combines elements of both sexes.
Father-of-two Anthony Smith said he didn’t know what to do when he saw two female symbols on the green traffic light. Mr Smith, of Preston, Lancashire, said: “When the light went green I saw the two female symbols and I thought, ‘Oh right, so my missus can cross with my little girl but what do me and the boy do?’ “This wouldn’t work up north. If you introduced this in Preston people wouldn’t know what you were going on about. I think it’s just a London thing really.” Father-of-three Paul LePatourel, 55, who was visiting the city on holiday with his daughter from their home in Birmingham, said: “Quite frankly, it’s ridiculous. “Fair enough, people are gay or transgender, whatever, I have no problem with that, but to change the traffic lights seems a bit bonkers to me.” Jennifer Riordan, 26, from Leeds, said: “Does it mean women have to walk on one side and men walk on the other? “I have gay and LGBT friends and they’re not my ‘gay’ friends, they are just my friends. “They are reinforcing this stigma by doing these lights. Don’t draw attention to different gender choices, just let people be who they want.” TfL said the symbols were installed on June 19. At the time it was said the changes had been made on a temporary basis but the lights are still in place nearly three months later. When the lights were installed new London mayor Sadiq Khan said: “I am very proud of our LGBT community here and I am looking forward to working closely with them.” One critic claimed the changes violate the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals which calls for simple images of pedestrians only. But last night Dana Skelley, director of asset management at Transport for London, said: “A full road safety audit was carried out to ensure there was no risk to the public.”