A few days ago, our Pride Festival Director, Lisa Green, went to order merchandise to sell at this year’s 6th annual Cville Pride Festival (tshirt sales provide us our main source of funding for the festival).
Red Star, our vendor since the beginning, attempted to outsource to another vendor the production of hats featuring this year’s theme: Y’all Means All.
This is what that vendor, Legacy Athletics, said in reply to the order:
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.
And there you have it. If you were needing a concrete example of how expressions of LGBTQ equality and pride remain at risk of facing rejection and denigration, here it is.
This is why a key piece to the Pride Festival is the expression of gratitude toward allies – showing appreciation of all those businesses, organizations, and individuals who support equality, who promote inclusion, who educate themselves, who listen, and who affirm us as our full selves.
The response from Red Star demonstrates what being an ally looks like:
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!
Thank you, Red Star, and all of you who help us make the festival happen. We couldn’t do it without you. Thank you Frontrunner Signs, Party Starts Here, MS Events, Convoy, Charlottesville’s Earthly Cleaning, T&N Printing, C-ville Weekly, Lifeview Marketing, Parks and Rec, Jefferson Theater, the JMRL library, MarieBette, Vitae Spirits Distillery, and all our generous, committed sponsors.
Join Us: Add Your Explicit Support
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.
Please join us September 16th for the Pride Festival. Your presence is also an explicit expression – but one of acceptance and love. Let’s counter-balance hate and fear and show this company and all others that Y’all really does – really can – really should – Mean All.
Speak Out: Tell Legacy Athletics that their discrimination isn’t going to be tolerated.