LGBT Community Outraged at Tea Party rally 'Straight Pride' Tees
Tea Party Express sale of "Straight Pride" Tees at Michigan rally April 10 causes state and national outrage from Gay advocates
Some "Straight Pride" T-shirts for sale at Saturday's Tea Party Express rally have drawn ire from state and national gay advocates and their organizations.
The Michigan Messenger reports that the vendor of the shirts is listed as an official sponsor of the Tea Party Express.
The Tee shirts were displayed for sale at a Capitol rally along with buttons featuring Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and other conservative causes and spokesmen. Other Tees sported slogans such as “Fox News Fan,” the Second Amendment written out in the shape of a handgun and a drawing of two stick figures with one holding a gun to the head of the other and labeled “socialism.”
Gay advocacy groups likened the "Straight Pride" Tees to the white pride shirts worn by supremacy groups who do not believe in racial equality.
The Tea Party tee shirt sales are viewed by many in the gay community as one more incident in a backlash against gay rights.
“It’s like white supremacy,” says Penny Gardner, president of the Lansing Association for Human Rights, a Lansing area lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights group. “It’s as if they are saying the idea of supremacy is some how the American way. The American way is about equality, and equality is all we’re looking for.”
“It sends a message that this is a cause for a certain group of people,” says David Holtz, executive director of Progress Michigan. “That group is older white people, straight apparently. It sends the message that if you are not in the group, you really aren’t welcome.”
Holtz said the most troubling aspect was that revenues are being generated from blatant discrimination.
Tea Party bigotry for blacks, Latinos, gays? University of Washington Poll reveals
The background for the LGBT community's uneasiness with the Tea Party was heightened when a new University of Washington Poll revealed the following about its members:
A minority of Tea Party members believe blacks and Latinos to be trustworthy, intelligent, and hardworking. When it comes to gays and lesbians, White Tea Party supporters also hold negative attitudes: Only 36 percent think gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to adopt children, and just 17 percent are in favor of same-sex marriage.
Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, called the Tees "homophobic".
Daryl Presgaves, spokesperson for the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network-( GLSEN), stated the he believed the fundraising connection was “a cause for concern.” The conservative group "Focus on the Family" has called GLSEN 'Orwellian'.
Michael Cole, spokesperson for the Campaign for Human Rights, a Washington D.C. based LGBT rights group called the sale of the Tees "shameful" and added that such bigoted practices should have no place in our country.
“It is clear from events at the April 10 Tea Party Express rally on our capitol steps in Lansing that homophobia and racism are alive and well in Michigan,” said Marilyn Vogler, spokesperson for the Democratic Party’s LGBTA Caucus. “The day was hi-lighted by stark black and white ’straight pride’ shirts, calls to impeach Obama, a poster with a black hand holding a knife stabbing the Statue of Liberty. Certainly, Tea Party folk have a right to express their opinions, but homophobia and racism should not be tolerated, least of all by our elected officials.”
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huntsville, Alabama, United States