No, The New MTA Subway Train Isn't Transphobic

No, The New MTA Subway Train Isn't Transphobic

Earlier today, the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority did what any proud new parent would do: Posted photos of its new baby on Twitter. Of course, the MTA isn’t just any parent, and its new baby was something unique as well — an R211 train, set to begin service on the city’s A line.

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But one of the four photos posted by the MTA perturbed the Twitterati. It showed the interior of a car on the new train, full of time-relevant pride flags, but with a curious omission: The flags’ trans colors were nowhere to be found.

The specific Pride flags shown on the displays in the train car are the Progress Pride design — a modern update to the six (originally eight)-stripe Gilbert Baker flag, which added chevrons to represent POC and trans people. In the MTA’s Twitter photo, the black and brown chevrons are present, but the pink, blue, and white have mysteriously vanished.

Jalopnik reached out to the MTA, however, and learned that the photo is simply an example of bad timing. The pride flags in the new R211 train are animated, and the photo on Twitter captured them as the chevrons were flying onto the screen – the trans colors simply hadn’t appeared yet. The animation, in its full form, looks like this:

Every color of the Progress Pride flag is represented on the trains’ screens, both in the flag animation as well as the heart surrounding the MTA logo at the end. The photo on Twitter may not have captured everything, but the full animation doesn’t erase any section of the Progress Pride design. Whether animated pride flags on subway trains are appreciated recognition of the diversity of NYC transit riders, or simply a vague gesture at representation in lieu of any meaningful improvement to the lives of queer New Yorkers, is its own debate. But, at least the new trains aren’t erasing any member of the community.

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