Why Are People Wearing Safety Pins After Donald Trump’s Win?

On November 11, actor Patrick Stewart posted a photo of himself wearing a safety pin on Twitter, with the simple hashtag #safetypin. Stewart isn’t the only one, as wearing a safety pin to show solidarity with victims of xenophobic attacks has spread on Facebook and Twitter in the days since Donald Trump was elected the next President. The trend isn’t new, and was started in the U.K. after the Brexit vote this past summer.

The idea to use a simple safety pin is credited to Twitter user @Cheeahs, who identified herself as Allison in a June interview with the BBC. After the Brexit referendum passed, with more U.K. voters deciding to leave the European Union than stay, she noticed the rise in attacks on minorities. Far Right Watch told Al Jazeera that it recorded 90 incidents in the three days after the referendum passed. Allison wanted to come up with a way for friendly people to show their support for victims of racism.

“I’d like to come up with something that can be made by anybody anywhere to pin on their jacket or coat to signify that they are an ally,” Allison, who recently revealed on Twitter that she is originally from Maine, wrote. “A safe person to sit next to on a bus, walk next to on a street, even have a conversation with. I quite like the idea of just putting a safety pin, empty of anything else, on your coat. A literal SAFETY pin!”

“This is meant to be more than just a symbolic gesture or a way for like-minded people to pat each other on the back,” Allison told the BBC. “If people wear the pin and support the campaign they are saying they are prepared to be part of the solution. It could be by confronting racist behaviour, or if that is not possible at least documenting it. More generally it is about reaching out to people and letting them know they are safe and welcome.”

In an interview with the Guardian, Allison explained that the safety pin idea came to her while she and her husband were watching the UEFA Euro matches.

“I was watching the Euros with my husband and I thought, how can we show people in public we are going to stand with them? We didn’t want to force people to go out and buy something so I said, what about a safety pin? Most people have one somewhere in the house,” Allison said. “My husband said it’s like a pin of safety – he likes puns.”

In the days since Trump’s election, there have been reported incidents of racism. New York Daily News writer Shaun King has been retweeting and posting examples. Buzzfeed also began updating a list of incidents as well.

With that in mind, those who are trying to show their support for the victims of these incidents have been wearing safety pins, following in the footsteps of the trend Allison started in the U.K. Allison has dealt with some criticism on Twitter for #SafetyPin, with Trump supporters noting that they are usually used to keep diapers on a baby.

There are also examples of Twitter users changing their profile pictures to safety pins. Gary Whitta, a writer who worked on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, even changed his Twitter profile to a picture of a safety pin inside a Rebel Alliance logo from Star Wars.

Here’s how other Twitter users showed solidarity with #SafetyPin:


Others think that a safety pin alone isn’t going to work. Writer Christopher Keelty called the trend “embarrassing” in a Huffington Post column. And instead of buying safety pins to wear, you could donate that money directly to charity.

Meanwhile, Etsy store owner Rebecca Cullen was criticized for selling a $335 safety pin necklace. She claims she designed it in 2009, but changed the listing after it was noticed on Twitter.

“This is a piece of jewelry and a piece of art. If you like it, buy it. If you don’t, you don’t need to buy it. I love what the safety pin has come to symbolize,” Cullen wrote. “I too, stand with Hillary. I think we should all go forward with positivity and hope. If I have offended anyone with my jewelry I apologize.”


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What a bunch of clueless fools. If any of you had actually read the article, you’d know that wearing a safety pin was to signify that you were a safe person to talk to or sit beside on the bus. The message is aimed at people who have reason to be fearful of attack or harassment due to the free flowing xenophobia and racism fed by Brexit and Trump’s election. Any “statement” is merely the reinforcement of the reason for the pin’s existence.

Furthermore, the idiots who liken the pin to a diaper pin obviously haven’t changed a lot of diapers. That’s not what a diaper pin looks like. You’ve just confirmed your stupidity and lack of originality to the world. Bravo/a.


So,Veronica, if I happen to be a hate-mongering racist, and I place a safety pin on my lapel, and you sit down beside me, what happens? You are relying on some simple material object to establish a person’s thinking. Worse, you are relying on it for your protection… or at the least, so you won’t be “offended” by me. A safety pin does not a safe space make. Humans have to do that, by being open to opposing ideas and willing to engage in uncomfortable conversation. I might find that I’m not the hate-mongering racist I though I was, and you might find that some of my political ideas have merit. You sound young. I’m seventy. There should be more dialog between such groups!


70? Isn’t it like way past you’re time/area? everyone your age should stay out of affairs better suited for the younger generation and what they want. They don’t want the nasty thought pattern of the older racist and sort to influence their pure-hearted clean way of thinking. You elders don’t know when to give up, and still keep dictating about a time that had long gone, because it’s something “you” wanted to happen in a time that’s no longer within your reach.


I’m not a racist, but let you assume I was. Your response indicates you not only took the bait, you are intolerant and narrow in thought. You guys don’t show much love for your fellow man – you just say it. What the older generation wants is for our children and grandchildren to have a future that’s survivable. We know what works and what doesn’t. It comes from experience, which is something the younger generations have never had – I know, because I was young once too. My generation will soon be gone. If your generation gets what it wants, it will soon be gone too. In all of history the socialist approach has never worked. Sounds good, but always fails. Look at Venezuela for a modern day example. You will have to live with the world we leave behind, or the one you create. Good luck!


i thought the trend of the safety pin was to represent their safe place in this mean old world.


The intended meaning is fine – I stand for your rights. But, the symbolism is being co-opted into a divisive political statement, which harms the intent.

Adorable Deplorable

How will all these whiny, liberal little crybabies hold up their diapers when their pins are on their shirt?!


Most of them don’t wear diapers. They just pee in their pants. They’re saving their diapers to give to the muslims to wear on their heads when they arrive in the country.


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