When Chris Arvin decided to add a few Pride-themed stickers to his new fan site for San Francisco transit, he didn’t expect too much to come of it. “Get There Bi Train,” one reads. “Lez Take Transit,” another says. “Ride With Pride,” declares a third — which comes in either a Muni Metro or BART version.
“I just wanted to make something that made people happy,” Arvin tells SF Weekly. “I noticed from being on Twitter there’s a huge overlap between people who love transit and people who are queer. There’s even this whole Facebook group dedicated to queer urbanist people that has 16,000 members. I wanted to celebrate that.”
But after Arvin announced the launch of the line on Twitter, he was swamped with orders. Turns out, transit and pride really do overlap. Soon, he was spending most of his free time shipping out Bay Area transit pride stickers and shirts to such faraway places as Belgium and Minnesota — and taking requests for new sayings. “Pan Your Commute” and “Ace Your Commute” were added in after Twitter users made suggestions. The runaway best seller was the “Gay for Transit” merch, seconded by “Pride the Bus.”
They’re ridiculously cute — full disclosure, I ordered some — but they also serve a purpose. All profits go to the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center, Larkin Street Youth Services, and Trans Lifeline. So far, the total has come to $4,500, meaning Arvin can donate $1,500 to each.
It’s been a wild success, particularly for someone who just launched his fan merch site for Bay Area transit a few months ago. So what’s next? Arvin’s not sure.
“I think there are a lot of people who enjoy them whether or not it’s Pride Month,” he says, trying to decide if he’ll keep the listings up. But then, “the influx of orders have been hard to keep up with. Especially $2.50 stickers. I feel like either I will keep selling them long term in packs, or just bring them back next year.”
But either way, “doing this for a cause has been fun,” he says. “I’m so impressed by all the support it’s gotten.”