This week U.K. rail company Avanti West Coast revealed a new Pride train that is staffed by an all-LGBTQ+ crew and designed with all rainbow colors as an effort to be more inclusive to the queer community.
Avanti West Coast operates routes from London to Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Wales, and Scotland. In addition to having an all-LGBTQ+ crew, the train offers educational resources like literature, stories, and colorful posters with fun facts and Pride-related information.
“This is about being accepted for who I am and representing the LGBT+ community we serve across our network,” train manager Paul Austin told Pink News on its official launch Tuesday. “Being a part of the U.K.’s first all LGBT+ crew is a sign of the steps we’re taking towards a more inclusive, diverse, and equal society, and I am so proud to be involved.”
However, not everyone is keen on having an LGBTQ-inclusive train.
TV host Piers Morgan, who has made various anti-LGBTQ+ statements — including calling Gillette's ad encouraging men to stand up to bullying and sexual harassment a “global assault on masculinity" — recently tweeted “Why?” alongside a report about the train’s inaugural journey.
Soon after he tweeted, a series of homophobic cots mmenbegan appearing on the thread, which prompted LGBTQ+ people and allies to counter Morgan’s message — including Lifetime’s Supernanny star Jo Frost.
The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, a queer venue in London that holds LGBTQ+ events and drag shows, explained the rhetoric by tweeting on its company account, “The thing is, Piers, when you tweet stuff like this your followers then feel emboldened to openly attack LGBTQ+ people in the replies and in the street. Yet you stay silent. Your silence speaks volumes.”
Morgan later responded, "It’s perfectly possible to be a long-time vocal supporter of gay rights — like me — AND think a gay train is ridiculous."
Morgan also defended himself after the Royal Vauxhall Tavern shared an old clip of when he used offensive language about gay characters in the show EastEnders.
It ended with Morgan agreeing to appear at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern and speak with English comedian Ava Vidal as part of her new show.
Still, the debate didn't end there. Morgan felt obligated to defend himself in a series of tweets, while also continuing to condescend regarding activists' concerns.