Marc Thompson by his roundel design in Brixton station

LGBTQ+ activist brings the love to Brixton station with Pride roundel

Brixton underground station has unveiled a specially designed roundel celebrating Pride as part of a wider Transport for London (TfL) scheme.

The roundel was installed at the station on Wednesday 22 September and shows two black men kissing, on a black background with a heart and broken chains.

The text features the words of African American gay rights activist Joseph Beam: “Black men loving black men is a revolutionary act.”

The roundel was created by activist and director of The Love Tank, a community interest company, Marc Thompson, 52, of Brixton, with design by creative director and visual artist Richard Kahwagi, and photography by Ajamu.

Thompson said: “I’m immensely proud and honoured that the roundel is in my local station, I was incredibly emotional when I saw it for the first time.

“An image and statement that bold probably hasn’t been displayed in a public space in London before.”

Marc Thompson's Pride roundel in Brixton, featuring two black men kissing, a heart, broken chains and the words "Black men loving black men is a revolutionary act."
POWERFUL: Thompson’s roundel design. Credit: Transport for London

As part of the TfL scheme, additional Pride roundels are at Caledonian Road, Vauxhall, Hammersmith and Baker Street.

Two roundels can be seen at each station, one designed by TfL staff and one by a notable LGBTQ+ Londoner.

TfL reached out to Thompson after they identified him as a key figure in London LGBTQ+ life and he asked for his design to be put in Brixton station.

He said: “Brixton has long been a main focal point in black British history and I wanted to express the lives and experiences of black gay men in the Pride narrative. 

“Very often when we have these moments of celebrating Pride, issues around black queer people are missing. 

“I wanted to use my platform, literally, to change that narrative and show that black gay men’s lives are rich and should be valued. 

“Love between black men is radical, revolutionary and beautiful.”

On Twitter London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was proud to be mayor of such an inclusive and diverse city, and said the roundels were created by some of the most inspiring LGBTQ+ Londoners.

Thompson said he would love to see TfL and other institutions which hold public spaces open them up more often for these sorts of installations.

He added: “I’d love to see them show more creativity from the whole range of diversity across London.

“It reflects who we are as a city, it shows us in all of our beauty and it enables a younger generation to feel seen.”

The initiative comes after London’s Pride parade, which would have been held on 11 September, was cancelled in August for the second year in a row.

Executive director of Pride in London Christopher Joell-Deshields, 50, said in a video statement the event could not provide the level of mitigation expected from the public health team and the government without becoming ticketed, going against its mission statement.

He said: “Tomorrow we start planning the return to the streets of London in 2022 with our most inclusive and queerest event yet.”

The roundels will be visible across the five stations for at least a month.

Featured image credit: Transport for London

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