drag queen lights

Photo: Robert Kitchin


Wellington, with its stuffy capital city bureaucracy,  actually has a liberal outlook and was once home to the most famous drag queen in Australasia. Cultural icon, Carmen Rupe was a colourful character who is now immortalized by four pedestrian traffic lights in Cuba Street in the central city. It is believed to be the first traffic light illustration of a drag queen in the world.  The lights were officially unveiled this month on the 30th anniversary of the Homosexual Law Reform Bill coming into effect. It’s ironic that a person known for effectively creating Wellington’s red light district, should be remembered with a green light. Perhaps it says something about how far the nation has come in accepting its gay community. read more