Earlier this week, Charlottesville Pride Festival Director, Lisa Green was ordering merchandise to sell at this year’s 6th annual Cville Pride Festival (merchandise such as t-shirts and hats are a primary source of revenue for the festival.) Red Star, their longtime merchandise vendor, outsourced production of hats to Legacy Athletics featuring this year’s theme: Y’all Means All. Legacy Athletics, replied to Charlottesville Pride with the following email:
“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.”
Apparently, ‘sincerely held beliefs’ not only apply to bakers of cakes, but manufacturers of apparel and is another reason why we need pride celebrations and for our community to know who we do business with and support those that support our community. Once Red Star learned of this issue, they responded to Charlottesville Pride thusly:
“I agree with you, I don’t plan on sending them any further orders and will make others aware. Really disappointed about it. I definitely do see the need to hold the festival and I am happy that you are leading the charge for the Charlottesville community. Thanks for all that you are doing!”
Unfortunately, implied and explicit discrimination and homophobia are still with us, empowered by the current political climate. This is why pride celebrations are much more than a party – it’s a place where LGBTQ persons and their allies can show support to one another.
If you can, make plans to attend the 6th Annual Cville Pride on September 16 – “Y’all means ALL.”