Monday, April 11, 2011

Chests Out, Slogans On

In my last column I discussed the role T-shirts with slogans play in the battle over gay rights. It occurred to me, aside from the T-shirts I've read about that have caused ruckuses in schools and elsewhere, I don't know what kinds of pro-gay and anti-gay T-shirts are available these days.

Like a size XS T-shirt, ignorance doesn't look good on me.

So I'm on the hunt. For snappy and snippy slogans.

I googled "gay T-shirts" and landed on Zazzle.com, whose shirts for women include "I used to be a tomboy, but now I'm a full-grown lesbian."

I want it. I want it now.

I'm less inclined to wear the shirt that reads "Vagitarian: One whose sexual diet consists exclusively of vagina." I'd have a hard time looking anyone in the eye while wearing that. Even at Pride.

Were I bisexual, I couldn't handle the shirt featuring a rooster and a cat, and below them the words "I'll take both." Yup, a cock and a pussy. My face would display shades of red heretofore unknown.

By contrast, I'd be happy to sport "God hates shellfish." Then I could call out religious hypocrisy and wear it, too.

The motto of the gay-owned company Queer Republic Tees is "Not your typical, lame-ass rainbow crap." Hence the shirt for guys reading "Trick-o-matic. Just add booze."

One of the offerings for women says "Save a tree . . . eat a beaver." Hmm, maybe I could pull that one off. I am environmentally minded.

After the last column ran, I heard from BMP T-Shirts, also gay-owned, whose options include a shirt featuring a rental truck labeled "She-Haul." The punch line is "The second-date vehicle of choice."

I have no idea what that refers to.

At Cafepress.com, a T-shirt sports a small guy in a sailor outfit and the words "Who's ready for a little seaman?" For lesbians who also like, um, maritime themes, there's a shirt with a female scuba diver and the slogan "Dykesville Divers: We don't come up for air."

I'm drawn to "Pink sheep of the family" and "Gay marriage killed the dinosaurs." If I had a toddler, he or she would be clad in "My mom is a Dykosaurus rex."

Now for the other side of the culture war. I typed in "anti-gay T-shirts" at Cafepress, and sure enough, they sell those too, just not as many and the slogans are less than inspired. "Diversity sucks" opines one shirt; "Be happy, not gay" suggests another.

One of the more clever offerings says "Celebrate diversity: Marry someone of the opposite gender." The male and female symbols and the cross are included. A person so inclined can buy this design on a T-shirt, tank top, hoodie, mug and Christmas stocking. Ho ho ho.

I googled "anti-gay T-shirts" and wound up where I started, at Zazzle. There—among options like "Obama makes me puke" and "Global Warming. Bullcrap"—was a shirt reading "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. Leviticus 18:22."

A bit wordy for a slogan. Someone should chat with the author about that.

At the same time, Zazzle sells a T-shirt that points out "Leviticus also said no hair cuts, but I guess we are skipping that."

Zazzle is covering its rear by covering everyone's chest. Pro-gay, anti-gay, the money's the same.

Why are the anti-gay slogans flat? Is it accurate what we like to say about ourselves, that we're more creative? Or does truth offer better material with which to work?

I could help the other side get snappier. But Leviticus clearly says, "Thou shalt not be an idiot."