Transport for London (TfL) is marking Pride month by remembering a secret language the LGBTQ+ community used to use.
Homosexuality was illegal in England and Wales until 1967, forcing the community underground.
Up until about the 1970s, Polari – a language ‘made up of Italianate phrases, rhyming slang and cant terms’ – was in usage in the capital’s secret gay scene.
Polari was first developed in the 1700s and 1800s by vagrants, circus performers, sailors and travellers.
As LGBTQ+ people were also ousted by traditional society, Polari became a way for people to identify and chat with each other without anyone else knowing.
TfL has put posters up with messages written in the slang as part of its campaign to celebrate 50 years of Pride with the rest of London.
One sign, ‘bona to vada your dolly old eke’ means ‘nice to see your pretty old face’.
Another says: ‘You turn my oyster up’. This translates to: ‘This makes me smile’.
TfL has put up ‘specially-designed’ photos and posters advertising LGBTQ+ businesses which have served a ‘role, legacy and support’ for the community.
There are also portraits of more than 20 TfL employees and contractors ‘telling the stories of staff members being their authentic selves’.
Even through Pride month is coming to an end, London’s official Pride march is set for July 2.
This will be the first time the LGBTQ+ community are able to celebrate Pride in two years – after the event was repeatedly delayed because of Covid-19.
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Metro.co.uk celebrates 50 years of Pride
This year marks 50 years of Pride, so it seems only fitting that Metro.co.uk goes above and beyond in our ongoing LGBTQ+ support, through a wealth of content that not only celebrates all things Pride, but also share stories, take time to reflect and raises awareness for the community this Pride Month.
And we’ve got some great names on board to help us, too. From a list of famous guest editors taking over the site for a week that includes Rob Rinder, Nicola Adams, Peter Tatchell, Kimberly Hart-Simpson, John Whaite, Anna Richardson and Dr Ranj, as well as the likes of Sir Ian McKellen and Drag Race stars The Vivienne, Lawrence Chaney and Tia Kofi offering their insights.
During Pride Month, which runs from 1 – 30 June, Metro.co.uk will also be supporting Kyiv Pride, a Ukrainian charity forced to work harder than ever to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community during times of conflict, and youth homelessness charity AKT. To find out more about their work, and what you can do to support them, click here.
For Metro.co.uk‘s latest Pride coverage, click here.