tea party fashions

Are These Straight Pride Tea Party T-Shirts Really ‘Like White Supremacy’?

A “Straight Pride” tee being sold Saturday at a Tea Party Express rally in Lansing, Michigan, where some 15 percent of proceeds would be donated back to the party. Penny Gardner, president of the Lansing Association for Human Rights, says the shirt’s message is “like white supremacy. 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.”

Other estimable reactions:

• Daryl Presgaves, spokesperson for the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network: ““It’s sad and troubling that some parents instill values of exclusion and teach their children to disrespect and bully those who are different from them. These shirts promote harassment and bullying of actual or perceived LGBT youth, plain and simple,” he said in a statement. “We hope the parents at the very least have the common sense and decency to not let their children wear such shirts to school, where they would contribute to what is already an incredibly hostile environment for LGBT youth, especially in middle school, where 39 percent of LGBT middle school students experience physical assault in school because of their sexual orientation. Seeing young people where these shirts is yet another reminder of why Friday’s National Day of Silence is as important today as it was when students created it in 1996.”

• HRC’s Michael Cole: “It’s shameful. Homophobia has no place in our country, let alone as a tool for groups to profit from. … Anyone who is running for office should be mindful of these sorts of practices, because they don’t have a place in our country. It especially shouldn’t be associated with our elected officials.”

• Democratic Party’s LGBTA Caucus’s Marilyn Vogler: “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. 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.”