British Royal Mint unveils new rainbow coin for 50th anniversary of UK Pride movement
The United Kingdom’s Royal Mint unveiled a brand new rainbow version of the country’s 50 pence coin on Wednesday ahead of this summer’s 50th anniversary of the country’s first LGBTQ+ Pride event.
The 50 pence coin is decorated with five rainbow arches. Scrawled on the middle rainbow arch is the word “pride,” while the other arches contain the words “protest,” “visibility,” “unity” and “equality.” A triangle composed of stripes in the colors black, brown, blue, pink and white points toward the arches in a symbol of unity and support for LGBTQ+ people of color and transgender people.
The Royal Mint, which is owned by the U.K. government, said the country’s first coin to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community is “not only a celebration of Pride UK but also a numismatic tribute to the indomitable spirit of the UK’s LGBTQ+ community.”
“The coin encompasses the very essence of Pride’s history in the UK and marks the first time we have celebrated the UK’s LGBTQ+ community on a UK coin,” the Royal Mint said in a release on its webpage.
The coin will officially debut sometime this summer. The 50th anniversary of the U.K.’s Pride movement is July 1, commemorating the first Pride march organized by LGBTQ+ activists in the country in 1972.
Dominique Holmes, an East London artist and LGBTQ+ activist, designed the coin for the Royal Mint with the assistance of Pride in London, the organizers of an annual Pride festival and parade.
Asad Shaykh, the director of communications for Pride in London, said he helped coin the words incorporated into the design. He said the fact that those words will be displayed on the coin, with Queen Elizabeth on the opposite side, “humbles me greatly.”
“This queer brown immigrant has come a long way, powered by hope, love and this city,” he tweeted on Wednesday.
The U.K. is not the first to honor the pride community with coins. This year, the U.S. began shipping out its first quarters featuring an openly LGBTQ+ woman, astronaut Sally Ride.
In 2019, the Royal Canadian Mint announced a $1 coin emblazoned with the words “Equality” as a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Parliament’s decriminalization of homosexuality. The coin was criticized by some for its suggestion that equality had been achieved, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
In the U.K., millions attend annual Pride events, but Pride in London says it is still fighting for more rights.
The British government recently banned conversion therapy — a controversial practice in which counselors attempt to change LGBTQ+ people’s sexual orientation or gender identity — but excluded the transgender community from the ban, according to The Washington Post.
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