Thomas Shim said he and his collaborators were inspired to pepper the subway with guerrilla Pride Month posters when President Donald Trump declined to formally acknowledge the month's significance on June 1st.
"It hit us hard the day of pride month, and President Trump not acknowledging it," Shim told Gothamist on Monday. "Pride month is not something that just happened last year. It's been happening every year, and it's just not right [to ignore it]."
Shim, who works in advertising, said recent reports of hate crimes and assaults on the subway troubled him. "We want people to feel that when they see these posters, they understand that this is a safe space," he said. "The MTA is the darkest space in the city, and kids and adults need to understand that they can be as open as they are above ground, and they should feel safe. Not just LGBTQ people and women, but also people of color."
The first batch of 200 MTA-inspired signs has gotten plenty of social media attention in the last few days. Inspired by typical service information posters, the rainbow "holiday" signs read, "No bigotry, hatred, and prejudice at this station." Shim and his collaborators, Ezequiel Consoli and Jack Welles, say they're carrying out the project at their own expense, and plan to do more installations throughout the month. They've also created large rainbow stickers that fit underneath the American flags on the exterior of some subway cars.
And while the group didn't contact the MTA for permission, Shim says he's grateful for the lack of pushback. "We work in advertising, so we have an understanding of how it is to go through clients," Shim said. "We're thankful of MTA for not giving us any trouble so far and we're more than happy to work directly with MTA for future project."