Charlottesville’s Pride event is just around the corner and the organizers want to make sure that the annual LGBT event is meant to include everyone.
So much so that this year’s theme is “Y’all Means All.”
But apparently that message of inclusion was deemed too “political” for one t-shirt company.
Charlottesville is about to celebrate pride, but the planning hit an unexpected problem proving exactly why we still need these events.
The usual vendor for Charlottesville Pride, Red Star, outsourced the organization’s t-shirt order to Pennsylvania-based Legacy Athletics.
But Legacy Athletics declined to fulfill the order on the grounds that the Pride message was too “political.”
Here’s the response sent to Red Star:
I am sorry for the delay, this is a design that we would not be able to produce.
While Legacy does offer custom logos, we also carefully nurture and protect our brand. One of the ways we keep a positive connotation to the brand, is by avoiding doing any products with custom logos that might be deemed as controversial, political, offensive, etc. This does not in any way mean that we either support or do not support the organization making the request, but the reality is that in light of recent events in Charlottesville as well as the fact Gay Pride events are political activism; we respectfully decline this order. Again, I hope you can understand our position.
Now, companies can certainly decline an order from an organization like Charlottesville Pride because political groups are not protected classes.
But you have to admit “Y’all Means All” is a tough message to oppose.
Charlottesville Pride organizers used the episode as a teaching moment explaining this is exactly why we need Pride celebrations:
And to those of you who thought we were past this kind of discrimination, please know that while this explicit expression of homophobia is indeed shocking, it’s only the fact that what usually seethes beneath the surface has come up for air that’s new. We live with implicit and inferred bias and constant threat of legal recrimination everyday.
In this world of Trump, where open bias and supremacy against all kinds of marginalized communities has become applauded and encouraged, we, the LGBTQ community, need you – our allies, our would-be friends – to stand up for us, to stand up with us, to have our back.
If you’re in the area, Charlottesville Pride is this Saturday, September 16, at the Sprint Pavilion, 700 E. Main St.