Friday, June 14, 2024
News & OpinionUnited Kingdom

South Western Railway Launches UK’s First Intersex-Inclusive Pride Train

South Western Railway (SWR) launched the UK’s first Intersex-Inclusive Pride train to show support for and solidarity with its LGBTQIA+ customers, colleagues, and the community at large.  

A Class 444 train dons the Progressive Pride flag mural, transporting passengers around the Greater London area. passengers to and from the Bournemouth Depot. With an LGBTQIA+ SWR crew, the newly designed train made its first run on Monday, debuting the train’s sleek look at the Bournemouth Depot.

Regular train riders and locals will spot the train on the busy South West Main Line between London Waterloo and Weymouth, traveling through Greater London, Surrey, Hampshire, and Dorset. 

(Photo Credit: South Western Railway)
(Photo Credit: South Western Railway)

SWR revealed its inaugural ‘Trainbow’ train with a Pride flag mural in 2019 ahead of Southampton Pride, the annual event that SWR first sponsored in 2017 and will sponsor for 2023, 2024, and 2025.  

Most members of the LGBTQ+ community are aware that the rainbow Pride flag has long been a symbol of LGBTQIA+ people and it has been updated several times in recent years to reflect different parts of the community, celebrating its diversity and promoting inclusion.  

American activists Amber Hikes and Daniel Quasar respectively incorporated black and brown stripes for Black and other people of color and light blue, light pink, and white stripes for transgender people to create the Progress Pride flag. 

In 2021, British intersex equality campaigner Valentino Vecchietti redesigned the Progress Pride flag to include the intersex flag, a purple ring on a yellow background, to create the ‘Intersex-Inclusive Pride’ flag which SWR has used on the new train.  

“The Intersex-Inclusive Pride train means so much to the LGBTQIA+ community and to our families, friends, and allies,” said Vecchietti, creator of the Intersex-Inclusive Pride flag. “I created intersex visibility on our global Pride flag to bring joy to my community, and also to raise awareness that intersex people in the UK and worldwide are typically not included in census data collection, equality protections, or hate crime legislation.” 

The founder of Intersex Equality Rights UK commented: “The umbrella term ‘intersex’ describes the natural diversity in sex characteristics. Sex characteristics are distinct from gender identity and sexual orientation but are all connected through the sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) human rights framework, which is reflected in the new flag.” 

(l-r) Claire Mann, SWR Managing Director, Valentino Vecchietti, creator of the Intersex-Inclusive flag, and Stuart Meek, SWR's Chief Operating Officer (Photo Credit: South Western Railway)
(l-r) Claire Mann, SWR Managing Director, Valentino Vecchietti, creator of the Intersex-Inclusive flag, and Stuart Meek, SWR’s Chief Operating Officer (Photo Credit: South Western Railway)

SWR’s senior leaders Managing Director, Claire Mann, and Chief Operating Officer, Stuart Meek, joined LGBTQIA+ colleagues, and the flag’s creator, Valentino Vecchietti formally revealed SWR’s new train design on Monday, March 27, 2023.   

“It is wonderful to have this train proudly flying the flag for equality on our network, furthering inclusion with the new Intersex-Inclusive flag design, and visibly showing our support for LGBTQIA+ colleagues and customers, said Stuart Meek, Chief Operating Officer of South Western Railway. “SWR is one family, and we are committed to fostering a sense of togetherness and standing up for all of our customers and colleagues, and all of the communities we serve.” 

Earlier this year, the results of the first census to ask respondents optional questions about their sexual orientation and gender identity in England and Wales were published by the Office for National Statistics.  

South Western Railway Pride Branding (Photo Credit: South Western Railway)
South Western Railway Pride Branding (Photo Credit: South Western Railway)

The results showed that the London Borough of Lambeth, home to SWR’s flagship London Waterloo terminus as well as Vauxhall station, is one of the most LGBTQIA+ areas in the country, with the third highest percentage, at 8.3% of the population. 

SWR has an active Pride Network championing inclusivity in the area of sexual orientation and gender identity. In February, LGBTQIA+ History Month, SWR was highly commended for Diversity & Inclusion in Rail at the Rail Business Awards.  

Passengers will see the new inclusive Pride train on the SWR network throughout the Pride season later this year and beyond.

Vacationer Staff

Vacationer Magazine's writing staff works hard to bring you all the latest LGBTQ travel articles to help inspire and inform.

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