President Donald Trump has yet to acknowledge June as Pride Month: a tradition that began under the Obama administration in 2009. His silence has left many outraged, and a few New Yorkers have taken the importance of the celebrations into their own hands.
Three friends, Thomas Shim, Ezequiel Consoli and Jack Welles, who all work in advertising, have transformed several NYC subway trains into “Pride Trains” by placing posters and rainbow flag stickers on cars and stations.
Although Trump did not tweet about Pride Month, his daughter Ivanka did. Her June 1 tweet, which said she’s “proud to support my LGBTQ friends and the LGBTQ Americans who have made immense contributions to our society,” was met with backlash.
“Name one true friend you have in this world, straight or gay…,” one Twitter user wrote.
With the lack of official acknowledge from the White House, Shim, 34, said the friends asked themselves, “What can we do in the city to get the word out about the importance of Pride Month?”
The answer: Decorate the “darkest place” in New York City, to make New Yorkers of all backgrounds feel safe underground.
Signs that read, “No bigotry, hatred, and prejudice at this station” began popping up on trains across the city on Thursday. Follow @PrideTrainNYC on Twitter for updates as posters go up.
While not affiliated with the MTA, the transit service has not made any statements forbidding the signs. Shim, laughing, said he thinks “the MTA workers think it’s a legitimate thing.”
He would, however, like to chat with the MTA about the campaign, to make it official. “If they want to reach out to us and have a conversation, we’re totally open to that. We’d love to work with them to make it an actual thing.”
The group of friends has made it clear that they are not seeking to vandalize subway stations, and have credited themselves to remain transparent.
“We made sure the flags are easy to remove. We’re here to make a point, not to vandalize,” Shim said.
Shim plans to keep the “Pride Trains” rolling through the month, but said, “the idea has no expiration date.”
With Colter Hettich