Not the MTA

From 2018:

If you’ve been taking the New York City subway lately, you may have noticed that some stops are a little more colorful than usual, as rainbow flyers celebrating Pride month have cropped up in stations across the city. The posters are formatted and designed like official MTA announcements, with statements like “No hatred or prejudice allowed at this station at any time.” But the gag is, it’s not the MTA that’s putting them up — it’s a New York resident.

Pride Train is a guerrilla anti-bigotry campaign spearheaded by Thomas Shim, a global creative director at the advertising agency Y&R New York, and his friends. The group formed last year and has since expanded, adding volunteers and contributors to queer New York’s most public spaces for the second year in a row.

Me and my friends Ezequiel and Jack started this project last year a week or two before Pride month. It seemed to us we could be very complacent because we’re in a blue state. Then we started talking about hate crimes, and all these smaller, microscale-level hate crimes happening all around NYC — some of them happening in subway stations. We wanted to do something about LGBTQ rights in general, and subway stations are the most public places in NYC.

They started with a rainbow flag sticker to put on trains, then got inspired to do imitation transit posters.

So you were aware of how vulnerable LGBTQ+ people are when it comes to public transportation?

Yes, it entered into our process. It’s the most public space, but it’s the darkest place in NYC. Things happen there. It affects us every day — not just LGBTQ people, but also women and people of color being attacked both physically and verbally. Two of the three people behind this project are people of color, so it’s a double whammy. You’re constantly watching your back, and I feel more unsafe than ever. We’ve become a target and it’s scary.

They almost had it for a second! They mentioned women! But then it slipped away…as it always does.

How do you identify?

We have a lot of people working on this project. The three of us who started it, we are a mix of gays and non-gays. I’m Asian American. Last year was two people of color and one white person, and this year it’s the same. But we have a bunch of volunteers, people who contribute and come up with new ideas for our social media channels. This year at our kick-off meeting we had about 15 people, but there are 20+ people across NYC helping out.

A lot of people…no telling if any of them are women. What are women, again?

Anyway, assuming this story is true, the posters aren’t official transit posters.

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