Social Question

Carly's avatar

What is your reaction when you see a person wearing a t-shirt with a pro-gay slogan on it?

Asked by Carly (4545 points ) November 15th, 2010

I just got a fck8 t-shirt and I’m planning on wearing it today to all my classes. I go to a very conservative private school that’s had a LOT of gay rights drama on campus. There’s a homosexuality policy that doesn’t tolerate any kind of gay expression/lifestyle, but a recent poll of almost the whole campus reported that 85% of the student body was against the policy.

I’m one of the voices for this change, so my action in wearing the shirt is pretty obvious. Do any of you wear shirt slogans for pro (or anti) gay rights? And/or have you reacted a specific way when you saw someone else wearing a shirt of that nature?

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68 Answers

OpryLeigh's avatar

I don’t really have a reaction to it. If it has a slogan on it then I will attempt to read it without staring too much but that is the same as any tshirt with a slogan on it. Those fck8 tshirts are cool though.

syz's avatar

I suspect that you’ll get support from the student body, but you should be prepared to have disciplinary action taken against you by the university if they have a written policy.

In general, I tend to have positive reactions to positive slogans, and negative reactions to hateful or bigoted slogans.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

You’ll get shit for it from the admins, you might be sent home, etc. – your anger will be righteous but you have to expect this reaction as plenty have faced it in other schools. I wear a lot of pro-queer shirts – mostly, they’re funny and I don’t wear them as a political statement. I have the shirt pictured here and many other shirts from dyketees.com.

nebule's avatar

I don’t wear slogan t-shirts generally…(but then I don’t really get new clothes very often) but I have complete admiration for you!! We need more people like you to stand up for these noble causes!!!

chyna's avatar

I have no reaction. I usually don’t read T-shirts as I’m afraid someone will think I’m checking them out. However, are you prepared to be kicked out of school? I admire your stance, but it might be better used after class, perhaps in a demonstration.

iamthemob's avatar

My reaction? “You GO girl!”

Winters's avatar

With civilians, meh.

Where I am at now, it’d be more like, “Shit, DUDE! Are you trying to get yourself kicked out?! Hide that shit! Oh, you are trying to get out? meh.”

Coloma's avatar

‘Pro- gay’ ?

Uh….you mean pro-freedom to be whatever one is without ridicule and bias?

muppetish's avatar

I don’t own any shirts with slogans on them, but used to have a button with a rainbow on it that said “Pride” (but lost it because the pin kept getting undone.) The only reactions I received were from my mother (“Pride in what?”) and from a peer I was tutoring (“Are you gay?”) Otherwise, nada.

My campus is not the most liberal in California, but LGBTQ students (and those who support them) are fairly safe to freely express themselves. We have a campus Pride Center and it would be pretty damn hypocritical if the school didn’t work to prevent harassment against those students. When I see someone wearing anything on their person to support Civil Rights (not limited to LGBTQ, but that is one that I am deeply connected to) then I usually smile and offer them my support.

However, as others have mentioned, I am not sure I would be willing to jeopardize my place on campus to wear a t-shirt. Activism is better invested in working to change the system than merely voicing an opinion (but that’s just me.)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I have a that’s cool with me reaction at most. You should be prepared for max bullshit if it’s a conservative place. (chyna I always check out slogans. thats prime ad space)

JustmeAman's avatar

I think there would be an inappropriate place to wear it but most of the time it doesn’t matter. I have a shirt that says to Investigate 911 and I don’t wear it on the Air Force Base where I work.

chyna's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Of course you do, I wouldn’t expect any thing else. :-)

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I love the “jam out with your clam out” shirt!!

Sarcasm's avatar

We have a pretty liberal campus here, I have seen a bunch of people in “Legalize gay” or other similar shirts.
I would mentally applaud them, but I don’t think I’d ever say anything about it to their faces (“Hurrhurr you got on a cool shirt!” just seems a bit too weird).

The Fckh8 shirts specifically make me feel awkward because, here at least, some dudes don’t marry dudes, and some chicks don’t marry chicks, unfortunately. I don’t know if I could support something that was factually incorrect.
Now, if it was “Some dudes love other dudes” I’d be all for it.

ucme's avatar

Hi fives all round. Is my usual reaction :¬)

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Ummm, I personally don’t care one way or the other. I know there are gay people and straight people, and I have no problem at all with either group. Though, it does sometimes bother me that there is such a need to be so “in your face” about it. It would be like me walking into this predominantly homosexual neighborhood close to where I live, wearing a tshirt that says “I’m straight and proud of it!”

You are who you are, and I don’t always agree with the need for some people to wave it like a red flag at a bull, like saying “Here I am, what are you gonna do about it?”

I do, however, understand the desire to make homophobes more aware that the gay community is here to stay and not ashamed of who they are simply because some people tell them they should be. And I understand the desire to eventually make them realize that gay people are good, beautiful people, and not the horrible, abnormal freaks they’re made out to be.

JLeslie's avatar

Pro-gay slogan I am all in support of, I don’t really have a particular reaction. A t-shirt with “fck” would piss me off. I dissapprove of curse words on t-shirts, in art studio windows on the street, any place where it is seen by the general public when they have not necessarily chosen to see it, like inside of an art gallery. I think it shows a horrible disrespect for people, especially children, and parents of children. If your t-shirt says fck, I would send you home from school. If it is one of the other t-shirts in support of gay people, no problem.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Your comment would make sense if gay and straight people faced similar issues, which they don’t – because homophobia is so in ‘my face’, my response and my ‘parading’ of my sexuality will be so, as well – this reaction is not for everyone.

bunnygrl's avatar

I’m constantly in equal parts both baffled and incredably ticked off that this is even still an issue. Good grief we live in a whole new century, a whole new millenium, and folk are still sticking their noses where they don’t belong and then feeling like they have the right to judge, when what anyone else choses to do in the bedroom or anywhere else (so long as it doesn’t involve children or animals) is none of their beeswax. Too many small minds in need of cobwebs blowing out of them and some fresh (sensible) air blowing in. Good for you honey <hugs> for being brave enough to take a stand against these tiny brained individuals. As other jellies have said above though, take care of you, we need more people in the world willing to do what you’re doing. <throws more hugs>.

As a side note, I love slogan t shirts. My current favourite right now (although I’ve had it for ages) is a red road sign with arrows pointing all four directions and in large letters underneath it says “Lost the plot” I think it’s only fair to warn the world whenever I’m having one of my more “dizzy bunny” days :-)
huggles xx .

ucme's avatar

Hiya @bunnygrl long time no see :¬)

bunnygrl's avatar

Hiya back @ucme <hugs> sorry been missing, dealing (or trying to) with life stuff including bereavement. I’ve missed your tickling my funny bone.
huggles xx

ucme's avatar

@bunnygrl Aww, welcome back anyway :¬)

bunnygrl's avatar

@ucme <throws hugs> thank you xx

mammal's avatar

you should get chucked out or suspended and then go to the press, obviously the School is fucked up politically, education is not compatible with conservatism, that is a no brainer.

Mikewlf337's avatar

Just someone standing up for themselves. I don’t really pay attention to tshirts because some people wear tshirts to piss off others. I only pay attention to the shirts of my friends and family.

JLeslie's avatar

@Carly Are you in high school or college?

Coloma's avatar

My tee shirt would say ’ hippie chicks with pigtails do it best’ hahaha

flutherother's avatar

Go for it, though I am not too sure what ‘pro gay’ means. As long as people and institutions aren’t anti gay that should be enough shouldn’t it?

Likeradar's avatar

I’m not sure wearing a shirt that says to “fuck” anything to high school is a good idea. I support the idea, but I’m sure you could find a more appropriate way to get your point across.

DominicX's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate

It would be like me walking into this predominantly homosexual neighborhood close to where I live, wearing a tshirt that says “I’m straight and proud of it!”

Actually, it wouldn’t. Shirts like this are a response to homophobia and anti-gay discrimination. A slogan like the one you describe is a response to anti-homophobia, not a response to discrimination. So no, it would not be the same. Wearing a shirt like the one described by the OP is making a statement against homophobia, but wearing a shirt like the one you describe is a deliberate attack on the gay community. Which is why I never buy the “straight pride” argument. “Gay pride” is a response to discrimination and hatred; “straight pride” is a response to gay pride. There is no comparison between the two. Most examples of so-called “straight pride” are not about being proud of being straight, but rather about spiting gay pride.

@Carly

Are you sure there’s not a shirt without the word “fuck” on it that you could wear? Having the bad word on it could cause you to get in trouble for that specifically and not having an anti-homophobia shirt in general. It could take focus away from the point of wearing the shirt.

MeinTeil's avatar

That I don’t find it necessary to wear my sexuality literally on my sleeve.

DominicX's avatar

@MeinTeil

So only a gay person could be against homophobia? A straight person could very well wear that shirt.

MeinTeil's avatar

^ I don’t understand, what does homophobia have to do with it?

DominicX's avatar

Did you read the question? Did you look at the shirt in the link?

MeinTeil's avatar

I read the question. It was all I needed to get the answer I gave.

If I saw such a Tshirt that is the first thing I would think.

JLeslie's avatar

@DominicX You reinforced what I did not like about the fck on the shirt, but you added how it distracts from the main intent in wearing the shirt. Your answer was better, glad you wrote that comment.

@MeinTeil I did not assume the OP is gay, and would not assume someone wearing the shirt is gay.

MeinTeil's avatar

I wouldn’t make assumptions about the wearers sexual orientation either.

However, I would assume that a wearer would be more likely to be gay.

Blueroses's avatar

My friend and I made shirts that say “H8 is not a family value”.

It’s not as polarizing as the fck8 slogan. Some people will only see the obscenity and miss the message. We never had any issues on campus.

MeinTeil's avatar

Another thing I would think of is how the term homophobia is grossly overused.

I know it makes quite an impression when one uses the word “hate”. I mean, nobody thinks hate is good, right?

Just because someone has does not wish to accept homosexuality doesn’t mean they fear or hate them.

It’s textbook narcissism to draw the conclusion that one hates you if one doesn’t completely agree with you.

Smashley's avatar

I’ve worn subtle equal rights slogans in the past. Not loud enough to declare across the campus, but obvious enough to someone close enough to make eye contact and say “hi.” I always thought that was more useful. Anyone can raise a flag or stand under a sign, but something more intimate that engages people on a one on one level, seems to be more effective to me.

For example: if someone sees you from thirty feet away and can read your shirt, they say to themselves: “there is a person who supports equal rights,” and they make whatever judgments they will. If you wear a t-shirt with a tiny embroidery of interlocked “male” or female symbols, you will meet someone, make eye contact, possibly say “hello” or have some kind of interaction, before your shirt is noticed. You might even be asked a question about it, which is ideal if you’re trying to affect change.

In this way, you are attaching a person to the message, not preaching it from on high. People make a judgment about you first, and about the cause second. This is better than being noticed first for your cause, which will then paint other’s judgments about the kind of person you must be.

Not that t-shirts are the ultimate form of political expression. All forms of fair discussion are more effective than wearing billboards.

MissAnthrope's avatar

If I saw someone wearing a FCKH8 shirt, it would make me smile. I’d probably end up trying to make eye contact and doing a little winkety-wink, like ‘Word, you know what’s up. Thanks.’

The only slogan t-shirt I own says “Friends don’t let friends have mullets.” Really, I think we all need to get on the anti-mullet bandwagon.

absalom's avatar

At my university we have shirts of various colors that bear the words ‘gay? fine by me.’ Lots of people wear them. I like them primarily because a) they are understated, b) they are declarative (it’s fine by me) and, especially, c) they are interrogative, asking the viewer of the shirt about his/ her own orientation and, following that, implicitly asking the viewer whether being gay is fine by him/ her also. I think such an interrogation is immensely important, and good at prompting people to think on their own about gay rights so they can come to the right conclusion by themselves. Nothing is forced.

I prefer them to what you linked to. What you linked to seems kind of obnoxious, possibly a little self-defeating. Tons of (allegedly) straight people wear the ‘fine by me’ shirts around campus, but I am certain that many of them would be unwilling to wear something that says ‘Some dudes marry dudes’ or ‘FCKH8’ in huge, pink typeface. Is that the shirt’s problem or the person’s problem? Probably the latter’s.

Nevertheless I’ve noticed there are people who hop on the bandwagon, who are perhaps a little too loud* in their expression of pro-gay rights sentiment, who are in it to have something to shout about. Young people often get caught up in the protest, I think, because it’s exciting to be a part of something important like this. It’s even more exciting to be able to defy authority by wearing a shirt that is rebellious in several ways, e.g. by being both profane (FCKH8) and a form of antiestablishmentarianism, by being anomalously pink, whatever. And, conveniently, it’s trendy to be ‘political’ or progressive.

*Not that pro-gay rights sentiment can be ‘too loud’ in the sense that it’s trying too hard (it’s an important issue and any form of support, loud of quiet, is commendable), but ‘too loud’ in the sense that it becomes self-defeating. The last thing I want to see is a movement quashed under the weight it’s prescribed itself.

Like @Sarcasm, I’m kind of amused and saddened by the ‘Some chicks/ dudes marry chicks/ dudes shirt’ because I don’t live in a state where that’s possible. It makes me feel as though the creators of the shirt – and the wearer – are a little ignorant of the political and legal implications of the current gay rights movement and have, instead, just kind of jejunely perceived it as a strictly social issue that can be remedied by the aggressive and occasionally offensive deployment of platitudes like fuck hate. Fuck hate? Well, of course fuck hate! No one is going to say, ‘Well, hate’s not so bad….’ The slogan’s message doesn’t really mean anything. There’s a chance a shirt like yours will reveal to the hateful that what they feel towards homosexuals is, in fact, hate, but it’s more likely to be simply glossed over by those not already supporting the cause. In this sense the shirt is kind of masturbatory and doesn’t really do or express anything important.

Of course I’m speaking mostly of the text, here, obviously, but visually the shirt is as necessary and good and important as any other form of support for gay (or more broadly: civil) rights. Visibility is everything, really. The support and the visibility probably even preclude the naiveté of the message. I am happy to see any form of support, especially from straight people who don’t have quite as much of a stake in the outcome as queer people do. I just really want those straight people (or those young people) to be participating for the right reasons and to be educated on the topic and to recognize that protesting is not a party. These issues are extremely significant and should not be a prop for self-righteous behavior.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@MeinTeil It’s like you’re Nullo’s twin
“Just because someone has does not wish to accept homosexuality doesn’t mean they fear or hate them.” – may I ask you, then, what I can call someone holding this view?

MeinTeil's avatar

A sovereign individual, still free to make up his or her mind (for now)
.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@MeinTeil LOL, I totally knew you were going to paint it as rebellious and independent. Who is telling you to not make up your mind, really? I think people are pretty loud and clear about ‘disagreeing’ with us queers.

MeinTeil's avatar

I’m not going to say that it’s necessarily independent since it’s conceivable that one might hold such a position because a majority of their peers do.

It cannot be considered necessarily rebellious since that would require that the opposite position be confirmed as being in the majority.

As far as an entity that would pressure one to not make up one’s own mind?

That would be the perplexing concept known as Political Correctness.

Carly's avatar

@JLeslie I go to a private christian college I’m a fifth year senior

@DominicX I was hoping to find a shirt that didn’t include it. I decided to buy this one because a group of students were all buying the same one to wear on the same day. I have another shirt which I like much better that says two dads are better than none

DominicX's avatar

@MeinTeil

And this kind of sentiment is not attacking people who peacefully “disagree” with homosexuality. It’s meant to attack outright hatred and discrimination.

@Carly

I was assuming this was a high school or something. :P

MeinTeil's avatar

^One of my points was that many “minorities” cannot or will not recognize the difference between the two.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@MeinTeil And you’re part of a minority that does recognize this when it comes to discrimination in your direction?

Smashley's avatar

@Carly – Not a huge fan of “two dads are better than none.” The implication is that it isn’t an ideal setup, but it’s better than nothing. Maybe I’m overthinking it.

JLeslie's avatar

@carly This is my blundt answer then. I think you should not wear the shirt, and I think you should not have gone to that college. Why did you choose to go there? I would never walk into a church and try to speak out about something like this, nor a Christian college campus. What I would only care about is laws to protect people for equal civil rights, and I would protect religious freedom. Your college campus is private property pretty much, and being a Christian college it goes further than private property that is considered open to the public in my mind. They get to set the rules on that campus, the best way for young people to dissapprove is to not attend that school. To not give them your money. You are supporting them through funding. I am not saying quit school, but this is an opportunity to really think about who you want to identify with.

JLeslie's avatar

To clarify a little more, it has to do with respect in my mind. If the Christian Scientists are anti-gay, I don’t think the place to lecture them is in their church or their college. I don’t perceive Christian universities as being places encouraging open mindedness, and free exchange of thought. I would not go to a Yeshiva college and wear a shirt saying fck Kosher. I think it is wonderful that the student body is so liberal, just to surprise me a little, but the church of Christian Science isn’t I guess?

MeinTeil's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir

I am a member of a minority (the only group that isn’t considered a minority).

I can’t speak for others but I do believe I know the difference.

FutureMemory's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Actually, I find Nullo to be far more pleasant. They’re both equally wrong, though.

jlelandg's avatar

Couldn’t you have chosen one of the shirts that doesn’t imply the “f” word?

MeinTeil's avatar

Why would the truth be necessarily pleasant?

If someone is obviously not motivated by attempting to please me with what they say I’d be more likely to believe them.

Carly's avatar

@JLeslie, one of the biggest reasons my school is against changing the policy is because most of the conservative donors would stop funding the school, but it would be very ironic if the student enrollment rate continued to drop the way it’s doing right now (there are only around 500 ppl at my school), because then they wouldn’t have students to fund. CS isn’t necessarily against homosexuality specifically, its more against being lustful in anyway, and in my eyes it holds heterosexuality at the same level. I find it really interesting though that over 50% of the CS faculty are against the policy. They, as well as the students, feel that if there is a truly loving relationship between two people then they should be able to be in that relationship.

At this point, I’m just wanting the administration to make the rule of sexuality on campus to be equal. 100% of the students (who are under 24) are required to live on campus unless they have parents who work at the college, and because of this, there is a rule that very sternly says they cannot partake in any sexual activities. Unfortunately, since this is a very old policy (over 100 years), there is also an additional rule that adds any form of homosexual relationship, including holding hands/kissing, etc. It also takes effect outside of school. Say, if someone from the college were to see you on your summer break with a S/O of the same sex, you could get asked not to come back to the college.

Anyway, I originally wanted to go to this college because it is the only Christian Science college in the world. My grandparents went here, my mother went here, my boyfriend (your fellow Fluther employee) went here and my sister still goes here, so it’s pretty important in my life. But I just recently withdrew from the school, and I’ll be permanently leaving after this week’s finals. I kind of realized this quarter that yes it is a private institution with their own specific rules, but over the last few years there have been so many people at my campus who have expressed frustration with just this specific rule that it was motivating to continue to work against something that I still feel is wrong. But honestly, I would much rather be at a school that supported this equality already. So that’s why I’m leaving.

JLeslie's avatar

@MeinTeil bunches of minority groups are not protected groups. Jews for one. Another eample at my school Asians did not get exceptions that other minorities did. Women and people who are older are considered a protected group, and they are not minorities statistically. There are new immigrants to America, who are white, who are ESL, and obviously foreign, and they do not get minority status, even though their people might be small in number, and possibly dicrimated against. What group are you a part of that you feel you are a minority, but the only one not considered a minority?

BarnacleBill's avatar

I usually wear a HRC shirt. This one could be nice to own, too.

Personally, I think the graphics on the fck8 shirts look like a marketing group trying to capitalize on a trend. Reminds me of the Humanatees tee shirts the kids sold in middle school as a fund raiser, or the sorority branded merchandise they sell in bookstores.

Carly's avatar

@BarnacleBill I really like those! and yes, I agree. I think the pink they use is quite striking in that sense… I’m also not a big fan of pink.

JLeslie's avatar

@Carly Well, I am sure that must have been difficult for you, to make the decision to leave. I would suggest don’t jeopardize your education on this one principle you hold. I think your logic is good, that you just want it to be fair for both heterosexuals and homosexuals, to be equal, even under a very strict policy regarding lust as you put it more or less. But, you should not feel badly if you stick it out for your degree. Are you transferring to a different school? Didn’t you say you are a senior already?

Carly's avatar

@JLeslie
I transferred to the school two years ago. There have been other things, academic reasons, why I’m also choosing to leave, but mostly it’s because I don’t feel comfortable at the school anymore.

mattbrowne's avatar

Freedom of expression.

FutureMemory's avatar

@JLeslie What group are you a part of that you feel you are a minority, but the only one not considered a minority?

Undoubtedly he meant something like “hard-working christian white man that pays his taxes”. I can hear the violins from here. Poor guy :(

KatawaGrey's avatar

Okay, I’m a few days late but I gotta respond to this question.

The problem I have with “pro-gay” shirts is how do you differentiate between a conscientious objector and someone who’s hopped on the bandwagon? Where I work, I see an awful lot of teenagers who feel the need to rub their different sexualities in everybody’s face. A coworker of mine had to deal with a girl who started yelling about straight people “stealing the rainbow.” I also have been harassed by numerous people who get on my case for telling them to tone it down when they are all over each other in our store No, it’s not discrimination, it’s because we have young children who come into the store and nobody should be making overt sexual comments/advances to another person around 6-year-olds. In short, homosexuality has become a trend which makes it difficult to figure out who’s sincere and who’s going through a questioning phase and making everybody deal with it.

Now, this may sound like I think that anyone displaying some form of protest is a stupid teenager trying to make me feel uncomfortable. This is not true. I simply do not think overt displays of one’s sexuality are the way to protest. However, if you are going about your business normally and answer any questions about your tee-shirt in a civilized, intelligent manner, then your tee-shirt is a fine way to protest.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@KatawaGrey This happened a lot when I was at school. A large number of the girls were very “in your face” about the fact that they were “gay”. It was like they were trying to prove some kind of point and, ironically, more and more were jumping on this bandwagon even though, it first started with a bunch of girls who wanted to show the world how “unique” they were!

The problem I had with this was, the whole time they were doing this, I was trying to accept the fact that I was, at the very least, bisexual. I’m sure their displays of affection should have made me feel that, actually, being gay wasn’t a big deal but to be honest (and this isn’t how I feel now), at the time, I was ashamed and needed time, space and quiet to deal with it.

Now, these girls weren’t to know that I was fighting this mini battle of feelings vs what I thought I should be as I couldn’t bring myself to confide in anyone about it and I have no problem with people being “out and proud” but I find it very interesting that the majority of these girls who were so obnoxious about their “sexuality” are now straight!

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