‘Cross with pride’ walkway created in Birmingham

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Birmingham’s LGBTQ+ community will be able to “cross with pride” as a rainbow walkway is unveiled in the city.

The artwork was designed as part of the city’s Pride celebrations in May but the event was cancelled because of the coronavirus restrictions.

Friday’s unveiling coincided with the temporary pedestrianisation of part of the city’s Southside area which is home to Birmingham’s Gay Quarter.

Artist James Cowper said it had brought a much-needed “burst of positivity.”

The graphic designer, who is also a drag performer under the name Gavina, said the artwork was commissioned by the Southside Business Improvement District (BID) at the beginning of the year.

“But the paint has sat in my dining room for months,” he said.

Matthew Stephens and James CowperImage copyright DAVID NASH


Housemates Matthew and James – aka Blanche and Gavina – worked together to create the crossing.
Drag artists standing on rainbow crossingImage copyright SOUTHSIDE BID


Artist James Cowper said he wanted to create something that brought the LGBTQ+ community together.

The artwork is based on the Progress flag which adds a chevron and extra colours to the traditional rainbow flag.

The eleven colours are important as it reflects the diverse drag community in the city, Mr Cowper explained.

“We not only have drag queens and drag kings, but bio queens and members of the trans community as well as people of colour – that’s why Birmingham’s drag scene is so fantastic.”

CrossingImage copyright SOUTHSIDE BID
The LGBTQ+ community had worked hard to support each other during lockdown, the artist said.

Southside district manager Julia Robinson said she had given the go-ahead for the Hurst Street walkway “so that people can cross with pride.”

“It’s been so well-received we’ll certainly be looking at making a permanent crossing in future.”

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