Australian traffic lights signal virtue

This is not something to be outraged about, even if you’re like me and find great distress in the Regressive Left. After all, the people who designed these traffic signals mean well (but don’t they always?): they’re trying to make gay couples seem welcome. I suspect, though, that gay couples don’t face much opprobrium in Australia, and, at any rate, they celebrate gay male couples rather than lesbian couples (stick figures are clearly “men”, as you see below). At any rate, click on the headline below to go to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s report:

From the article:

Eight new lights have been set up in the inner-north suburb of Braddon featuring both male and female same-sex couples.

The lights function like any standard pedestrian crossing signal.

But they have marked an important crossroad in Australia’s history, coinciding with the first anniversary of the same-sex marriage postal survey results.

Here is one of the eight new lights, erected at a total cost of $5,500 (I assume that’s Aussie dollars). Note the cute little heart. (Blind gay people, however, won’t get the advantage of this signal, so it may be ableist.)

Photo: ABC Canberra: Michael Black

But wait! There are more signs to come:

The installation costs amounted to $5,500 with a considerable proportion involving setup costs.

It’s estimated future projects will cost less and feature other diverse silhouettes at significant places around the city centre.

See below (and here)!

More than a year ago, female traffic light signals appeared in Melbourne’s CBD as part of a gender-equality push.

But the same-sex couple lights are believed to be an Australian first, although similar lights have been set up in Europe.

Here’s the female light, clearly indicated by the presence of a skirt:

Photo: ABC News: Stephanie Chalkley-Rhoden

Can we expect a hijab-wearing woman next? Or someone with a cane: the universal but invidious sign of “seniors”? Don’t be so sure it won’t happen.  At any rate, when I saw the above I wondered, “How many Aussie women really wear skirts? Wouldn’t a generic stick figure stand for both men and women? And so I did a Google search of Canberra crowds, and turned up this picture:

I think the generic Aussie sign should be wearing shorts (and perhaps carrying a tube of Foster’s).


  1. Posted December 14, 2018 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place and commented:
    These look more like virtue signals than traffic signals. Do the benefits justify the cost?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted December 14, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Can’t see anything actually wrong with them, but meh. $5500 is peanuts compared with the usual public expenditure, but still, why did it cost that much? Why should it cost more than $100 of somebody’s time to cut a new stencil and install it?

      My only ‘anti’ is, the more complex you make the figure, the less distinctive it is for people with poor eyesight, road signs should above all be unmistakeable. (See the link below by mhoefert about the East German walking man).


    • FA
      Posted December 15, 2018 at 5:10 am | Permalink

      As someone who lives in Canberra, here’s a few details:

      The Chief Minister of the ACT is a gay man by the name of Andrew Barr. He’s not particularly well liked, thought to spend public money on his pet interest and projects and pretty much ignore the rest of Canberra. Last year, for example, he decided to repaint a roundabout in the same area with rainbow colours in the name of gayness.

      There’s basically no opposition in the ACT. He’s got no chance of being dethroned for the foreseeable future. The ACT government is currently going into debt to fund a new tram, which like the Sydney one, will almost certainly turn into a white elephant. His government has also been raising local taxes, land rates, significantly to try and cover costs. The ACT is a very safe “progressive” city.

      Just two weeks ago, the ACT government got into a big debate about renaming a city park and road because they were named after first world war military officers who could have potentially done bad things. (To be fair, in the case of the road, there were allegations made, after his death, that he molested some British migrants.) He’s pretty much a regressive leftist leading a government full of them.

      • Posted December 15, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        Thank you for the details. I hope that at least children will like the rainbow colors.

  2. Merilee
    Posted December 14, 2018 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    How do you know that the skirt’s not a kilt?

    • Posted December 14, 2018 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      Because kilts are hardly ever worn in Australia, other than in pipe bands.

      • Merilee
        Posted December 14, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        I think Jerry’s probably right that shorts make the most sense.

        • KiwiInOz
          Posted December 14, 2018 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

          But not the Fosters! That’s so 80s.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 14, 2018 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      Or a tunic.

  3. Posted December 14, 2018 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    In Austria they had gendered traffic lights already in 2015:

    • Merilee
      Posted December 14, 2018 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      Those Ampelmänchen are really cute, but I don’t see the point of having ANY combination of two people crossing together (though the Schmetterling im Bauch is very sweet😍)

  4. Posted December 14, 2018 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    In Austria they had gendered traffic lights already in 2015:

  5. bric
    Posted December 14, 2018 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    We had these in London in 2016. Nobody seems to have thought it amiss

    • Posted December 15, 2018 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      The job of the symbol is to convey the notion that it is safe to cross the road now. If it doesn’t do that, or does it in a manner that is not clear, it’s a failure. So I really think it ought to be a person, or people, walking, I don’t care whether they are depicted in a dress or not.

      And, although I think the heart formed by the negative space is very clever, I think it is a bit distracting when you ought to be concentrating you’re attention on crossing the road.

  6. kelly
    Posted December 14, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    A stick figure would be ideal, because as it stands they are erasing non-binary people, which is a hate crime.

    • Frank Quinton
      Posted December 14, 2018 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      How about an obese stick figure to avoid excluding many Aussies?

      • Merilee
        Posted December 14, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        Fat sticks??

    • Deodand
      Posted December 15, 2018 at 1:34 am | Permalink

      It will be interesting to see if they try to display race…

  7. Posted December 14, 2018 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Well I like dinosaurs and am often accompanied by an imaginary deinonychus when out and about. And I live in Canberra, am a minority – so traffic lights for me should reflect this. I guess I’ll have to get the backing of some deconstructionalist brainwashed public servants to make this happen.


  8. rickflick
    Posted December 14, 2018 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    A bit much for 8 traffic light lenses. Did somebodies sister-in-law get the contract?

  9. Posted December 14, 2018 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    A “tube of Foster’s”? I’ve never heard that expression. Makes it sound like some kind of ointment. An ointment for a boring day?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted December 14, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      It’s a dinkum Aussie expression, I believe. Fosters is an alleged lager, allegedly drunk by many Aussies, and a ‘tube’ is a can.


      • Stephen Mynett
        Posted December 14, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        Tube or a Stubby but I doubt it will be Fosters, unless things have changed a lot, the Aussies have a lot of good beers but Fosters is not one of the more popular ones.

      • Wayne Beitzel
        Posted December 14, 2018 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        No it isn’t, and never has been. There is a film “The adventures of Barry McKenzie” which was written with an English audience in mind and the script included “crack a tube” (of Fosters), tube being an English term. This film was shown in the early 70s iirc.
        You are right, however, about Fosters being an alleged lager. It disappeared from our market many, many years ago, thankfully.

        • phil brown
          Posted December 14, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

          I’ve never heard ‘tube’ in the UK (but I don’t remember the 70s). I thought Aussies called them tinnys?

    • Kevin
      Posted December 14, 2018 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      I first heard of a tube of Foster’s from this bloke in the 1970’s:

      from a character of his called “Barrie McKenzie” who was an Australian let loose (lost?) in London in several films.
      Barrie Humphries is a scream.

      Other colourful Oz expressions include “chundering” and the “technicolour yawn”

      • Merilee
        Posted December 14, 2018 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        Loved this, Kevin. Thanks for sharing. Love all three of these guys, though had never seen Humphries outside of Dame Edna.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted December 14, 2018 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

          @Merilee His best role is as Sir Leslie Colin “Les” Patterson. Evidence video:

          • Merilee
            Posted December 14, 2018 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

            Don’t find this as funny as Dame Edna.

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted December 14, 2018 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

              Yes. I was working from memory – it’s dated badly now that I rewatch

      • Posted December 15, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        So many colorful expressions for throwing up, especially after heavy drinking. “Chundering” is one of my favorites. Another of my favorites is “driving the porcelain bus” but I don’t know its author.

  10. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted December 14, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    “I think the generic Aussie sign should be wearing shorts (and perhaps carrying a tube of Foster’s).”


    Never mind the two-lesbians-in-jeans or the Scotsman-in-a-kilt featured so far.


  11. BJ
    Posted December 14, 2018 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    I never even thought the figures on these signals were men or women. They always seemed like a generic person. The idea that there needs to be signals installed that are clearly women (as indicated by a skirt, which is very gender-conformist!) is absurd.

    Literal virtue signalling. This is something even the many satirists never managed to dream up.

    • Adam M.
      Posted December 14, 2018 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, the nice thing about generic symbols is that they apply to everybody (except, I guess, people who can’t walk…). Once you start having women, gay male couples, etc. you’ve gotta have a representation of all the groups or else people start feeling left out.

      It’s a good thing nobody has green skin or that’d be a whole new can of worms. 🙂

      • rickflick
        Posted December 14, 2018 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

        Logically though, each signal should have every possible group. Thus, we would need at least a dozen lights of each color. Somehow, no one would be happy.

  12. Michael
    Posted December 14, 2018 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    To avoid the hint of speciesism, they need to display the occasional kangaroo.

    • Merilee
      Posted December 14, 2018 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      At the hopwalk.

  13. zoolady
    Posted December 14, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    There are so many problems/solutions in society…this one just makes me SIGH.

  14. Wayne Beitzel
    Posted December 14, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Good article until the end. Fosters is pretty much no longer sold in Australia; we send that rubbish beer overseas. And we don’t drink out of tubes! It’s a can of beer, thanks, or if you are a serious beer drinker, a stubby is far better. Cheers!

    • Posted December 14, 2018 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you but I’ve never been to Australia and an Aussie friend used to serve me Foster’s in the blue can when I went to his house 35 years ago.

      • Kevin
        Posted December 15, 2018 at 6:37 am | Permalink

        I had heard that Foster’s wasn’t that popular in Australia itself and that it has a large export market (currently number two lager in UK apparently) though it is associated with Australia..
        The Greeks have a brand of beer called Zorba which seems to be aimed at export and tourists. I have only seen it in a Greek kebab (gyros) bar in Milan. The Greeks often find the whole image of Zorba slightly embarassing since it is a bit of a cliche for Greek culture (Great film though).

      • Posted December 15, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

        I always thought Fosters was a British lager marketed to pretend it is Australian. Certainly, if you buy a can of it in Britain, the writing on the side will tell you it is brewed in the UK.

        I’ve looked it up on Wikipedia now and it tells me that Fosters did originate in Australia after all, but the UK is its largest market.

        • Posted December 15, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

          Fosters was fairly big here in California decades ago. I suspect it is still available here but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t get much market share. It just has too much competition these days.

  15. Posted December 14, 2018 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    So, you see a skirt and assume it’s a female?

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted December 14, 2018 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Right, could be guys or trans something or other. Perhaps the two stick figures holding hands are butch lesbians.

  16. Posted December 14, 2018 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    in Barcelona when the walk light turns yellow, the figures in the sign begin to run.
    I cannot remember the sex of the figures.

  17. eric
    Posted December 14, 2018 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    How terribly upsetting. I can no longer make jokes about how the the White Man means ‘go’ but a Red Hand means ‘don’t.’

  18. Michael Fisher
    Posted December 14, 2018 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    There was a fashion among teen girls, in Bradford UK I think it was, to wear green, amber or red tights/socks as an indication of availability. Amber equated to “yes I’ve got a bloke, but I’m seeking an upgrade.”

    Possibly this was the 70s, but I can’t find any evidence for the practise. Nevertheless it’s a vivid recollection & deserves to be true!

  19. Pray Hard
    Posted December 15, 2018 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Eloi world ..

  20. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 15, 2018 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    If it makes our gay brothers and sisters feel a stronger stake in society (and a stronger stake in not jaywalking 🙂 ), what’s the harm?

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