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Eurovision Song Contest Host Vienna Launches Gay-Themed Traffic Lights

Dozens of traffic lights in Vienna are being equipped with symbols representing gay couples holding hands.
/ Source: NBC News

MAINZ, Germany — Dozens of traffic lights in Vienna are being equipped with symbols representing loving gay couples holding hands.

A total of 49 intersections have received the temporary overhaul ahead of the flamboyant Eurovision Song Contest, which is due to be hosted in the Austrian capital on May 23.

“The campaign is mainly targeted at raising awareness for traffic safety,“ Andreas Baur, a spokesman for the city of Vienna, told NBC News. “But it is also pegged to the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest and the AIDS charity Lifeball in Vienna.”

Eurovision is enormously popular among gay communities across Europe, not only because of bearded Austrian transgender artist Conchita Wurst's triumph at last year's event.

Image: A combination of photos shows gay-themed traffic lights in Vienna
Dozens of traffic lights in central Vienna have been programmed to show male or female gay couples with hearts — in red for stop and green for go — replacing the usual single, gender-neutral figure.HEINZ-PETER BADER / Reuters

"The city of Vienna is setting a signal for openness and tolerance,“ deputy mayor Maria Vassilakou added in a statement.

Officials say the campaign is focused on “reducing the number of traffic accidents in the city.”

A total of 22 children were injured at pedestrian crossings in the city last year “often as a result of inattention,” according to the statement.

The project will be accompanied by scientific research and runs until the end of June.