The gay New York subway passenger who became a viral sensation after footage of him standing up to a preacher spewing a homophobic rant says he initially felt "very vulnerable" with the international attention his actions received.
"I love my privacy," the married 48-year-old, who is identified only as "Karl," tells New York Magazine. "My art is how I want to be known to the world, not as some sort of gay rights advocate. I don't put my private life out to the world if I can help it."
Though Karl says he eventually embraced his newfound fame, he says he's avoiding the spotlight further and even retiring his signature hat, insisting the strangers on the train who clapped in response to his remarks were those who deserved the admiration.
"It gave me hope," he says. "Honestly, it's not that exemplary and amazing that someone speaks up for himself. What's amazing is that the large group that isn't being singled out for hatred — they speak up. That's the beauty of that video."
In the original video, an unnamed preacher likens gay men on pedophiles on a crowded subway train, before claiming that "Michael Jackson died because he was gay" to the crowd.
Karl quickly berated the preacher, call him a "false prophet" who was "full of hatred."
He then added, "I'm a gay man and Jesus loves me! Jesus loves me!"
Gay NYC subway stories appear to be all the rage lately. The New York Times published a piece about a gay couple who found a baby at the Eighth Avenue A/C/E subway stop in New York City in 2000. Surprisingly, a judge offered to let the couple keep the baby and after becoming foster parents and then adopting the child, they are now the dads of a happy, healthy 12-year-old boy named Kevin.