Community Rail Lancashire is about start a new project that has been funded by Arriva Rail North’s Seed Corn Fund. Mind the Closet Door will produce a map of significant LGBT+ locations that can be reached by rail.
Confident and safe use of public transport is a right that must be available to all people within our communities. In Europe and the USA, studies have found that LGBT+ people fear for their safety on public transport. In London, 40% of LGBT+ people who participated in a survey avoided using public transport because of fear of or actual assault, and in a 2012 European Union survey 50% of LGBT+ people said they avoid certain places or locations, and among the places they listed as most unsafe to be open about their sexual orientations was “public transport” (Marketing the Rainbow).
Facilitating the sharing of ideas from all people within society, physical presence of LGBT+ people through projects and visual representation is vital to make it clear that all people have a place safely and confidently using public transport.
In partnership with the Proud Trust, which is a local, Manchester-based life saving and life enhancing organisation that helps young people empower themselves to make a positive change for themselves and their communities, Community Rail Lancashire aims to enable some of this necessary representation through an art project named ‘Stand Clear of the Closet Doors!’ with the tagline ‘Enjoy days out by rail!’
The project will be delivered over the Summer holidays in July and August, to launch the project on the 23rd of August at the ‘Rainbow Playground’ event. It will follow the current Proud Trust yearly theme of geography, and will ultimately produce an LGBT+ ‘travel map’, connecting and displaying LGBT+ people, places and events through use of the rail network. This will involve physical artwork and a publication guiding rail users through this inclusive and educating network with a usage guide, along with key information about the featured LGBT+ people and events. The key map artwork will be displayed in Manchester Victoria in the waiting shelter on platforms 4/5, with smaller pieces focussing on individual locations to be determined; some featuring Proud Trust locations and some focussed on other locations including those lines listed above, along with others.
The young people will travel with CRL staff during the start of the Summer holiday in July, with a week of travel experiences to Proud Trust and other locations. This will be followed by artworking sessions delivered by Proud Trust staff. This artwork will be used on the main map and within the booklets produced.
Funding from Arriva Rail North’s Seed Corn Fund will enable artworking, digital artwork creation and printing of art panels and the booklets, as well as a cost for the launch event.