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.”

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  • merkin

    Is the headline a pun Im not getting? Shouldnt it be “white” supremacy.

    At any rate, those shirts should be allowed to be sold or worn everywhere. They make the wearer look like a complete douche.

  • trent

    I really don’t see why the shirt is so offensive. If I saw it I would laugh. You can be proud to be straight just like you can be proud to be gay. We don’t have a corner on the market. Lets try to at least keep our sense of humor..


    It’s exactly like White Supremacy. No heterosexual needs to social/communal affirmation.

    Everyone should be “proud” of who and what they are, but for petesake…is it so awful to let the people who’re in a minority group more openly celebrate their pride so that they can feel personally empowered, or equal, despite their not being part of the majority demographic?

    When someone who is part of the ‘majority’ (whose lives, likeness, lifestyle, etc., etc. are already celebrited as the standard or “norm”) parades around their “Pride,” it comes off as petty at best…and condescending/bigoted at worse. It’s like their rubbing their social status in, and be snubbing at the same time.

  • thedarkchariot

    Nope, straights, you can’t do this, for the same reason as having Black history month and not White history month – straights (and whites) are the majority and therefore it is their values that are constantly affirmed and supported. Implicitly, yes, but still they are the majority. In short, the history that is taught on an everyday basis is White history and, for one month, we get to focus on Black history. The same follows here, and therefore these shirts are horribly offensive.

  • fubar

    Sure it’s offensive. It’s like seeing one of those “silly faggot, dicks are for chicks.”

    But they are also extremely useful. They help us point out the uneducated idiots in society without us having to waste time talking to them to decide if they are idiots or not.

  • Nightstalker

    Totally lame shirt and amazingly unfunny. Is there anyone you can think of who is bigoted, homophobic, sexist – and intelligent? Bigotry is the exclusive privilege of the criminally stupid.

  • delurker again

    More conservative grievance. The Tea Parties have chips on their shoulders the size of Yankee Stadium. The more people see their seething cultural resentment, the better it is for sane people.

  • OusslanDer

    Doesn’t bother me at all! If it’s racist then so are black pride/power t-shirts. Of course these t-shirts don’t mention race or is it because the figures are white? And if they are homophobic then i guess gay pride shirts are anti-straight!

    There is more to worry about then silly t-shirts similar to ones worn by the gay community. Stop looking for boogeymen everywhere

  • Dennis

    They can wear whatever they want, just as long as they don’t breed…we have enough imbeciles on the planet already.

  • Jason

    We live in a hetero-normative culture. Additionally, people of Caucasian descent are the majority in this country (albeit not for much longer) so if you don’t like it, wear what you want and don’t fucking look at it.

    Jeez, we gays are a sensitive lot.

  • tjr101

    They can wear what they want it’s a free country but I have the right to stick my middle finger when I see them. I love freedom of expression!

  • CultureBear

    I saw this same shirt almost 10 years ago in a mainstream magazine being worn by Jacob Underwood of the then-sort-of-hot boyband O-Town. But the version he had was even more offensive because it had the man/woman characters against an American flag. I started an uproar on some message boards and sent a letter to the editor. They published it along with an “apology” from Mr. Underwood saying “I’m sorry if my shirt offended anyone. It was simply meant to provoke thought.”

    It’s sickening to see that this sort of thing is STILL around all these years later.

  • Jason

    @fubar: YOu can always come back with the “Lose the bitch and make the switch” comment!

  • Two Husbands

    Every day is straightl pride day on Planet Heterosexual, didn’t they notice?

  • Symonds

    I’m kind of in favor of anything that lets me tell who the assholes are just by looking at them.

  • Forrest

    When being openly Gay is seen as meaningless as being openly straight the shirt will be ok with me. We sure as hell ain’t there yet.

  • jeffree

    Gee, why don’t they make bumperstickers too? How about wristbands and keychains and tattoos??!

    These nutjobs are exposing their idiocy & insane hatered. It’s morally repugnant. And just plain wrong.

    Any sane individual will see that the tea partiers are veering further & further away from main-stream and into the shallow gene pool of the Phelps clan. If any candidate for public office associates themself with this cesspool and doesn’t cry FOUL, then they should be “outed” and made to account for their refusal to stand against this display of “stoopidness”!

  • AlwaysGay

    Hatero Pride. Expected. Happens 24/7/365.

  • delurker again

    Kinda reminds me of the dumbasses who ask if there’s a BET, why isn’t there a White entertainment channel? Uh, do these people watch, ABC, NBC, CBS, Bravo, etc. during primetime? Looks pretty white to me.

    Same with the straight pride thing. Straight is what is considered normal so it is redundant and agressive.

  • John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)

    @delurker again:


    It’s nasty but I’m glad some white gays who are quick to insult blacks now see how insane it is to be p*ssed off when I minority tried to feel proud of its heritage after so much oppression.

  • terrwill

    The tea-baggers proudly proclaim they want to bring America back to “the way it uset to be”, you know when wearing a white wife beater actually meant you beat your wife while wearing a white shirt………when the only bling blacks wore were the chains around their legs on the plantation……..when the right to vote was actually white only votes…….women were welcomed in the workplace, as long as it was in a sweat shop………..The far rightwing lunatics lost big time in the last elections. The tea-bagger movement is nothing but a feeble attempt to disguise their wicked,racist beliefs into a more “acceptable” movement……….Just a bunch of KKK members sans the sheets…

  • Lamar

    I think they should be able to wear it because they aren’t saying they hate gays. I’m black but if someone white said they were proud to be white I wouldn’t take offence. Having said that however I agree with most people on this post that the reasons behind these T-shirts are probably not sincere. Breeders already think they are supreme by denying us rights – thats their celebration of straight pride.

  • Ben

    The real problem with shirts like this is the backlash they cause. Ok, so people go around wearing a douchebaggy shirt, and those of us with a sense of history and morals know that it’s stupid at best, and offensive at worst. And then we get all worked up about it, and they point the finger back at us, claiming that WE are the ones being intolerant and hateful, that WE are the ones who cannot stand straight people. And there is a certain audience of privileged but ignorant folks who, lacking the understanding of their own privilege, will buy that argument.

    The exact same thing is happening now with race. Unabashed racists like Rush Limbaugh whine loudly and constantly about “racism” against whites and, in some circles, the idea that the only remaining racism is against whites is now commonly accepted and unquestioned. It’s a lose-lose situation for those of us who’ve actually given some thought to the issues of privilege and oppression.

  • jack

    If they want to advertise their delusion that they are oppressed, by all means let them.

  • RUSerious

    This shirt is even more ridiculous than gay pride shirts.

    At least we have some color in ours.

  • Steve

    I notice that the guy in picture is wearing a hood, and hiding his face.

    Who is the person or organization behind this? Can we invite him/her to an awards dinner, and present an award? The award itself should be a proper white hood, of course, and perhaps a robe with five pink stripes on the sleeves.

  • jeffree

    If the people who wear “straight pride” teeshirts were more honest, they would just say “i hate [email protected]”. Same message, different words. It’s sick. It’s full of fear, it’s full of hate. It’s also based on ignorance & religious beliefs.

    I bet that the people who bought the shirt still fly the confederate flag and call Obama “the Kenyan president”!

    The tea party people are showing their true selves: homophobic, racist, backwards, uneducated, and incapable of dealing with the reality that their world is changing and there isnt a [email protected] thing they can do about it!

  • Shannon

    I’m having a little trouble getting worked up over a lame t-shirt. Is this thing really a thing?

  • ChrisM

    I agree completely with Forrest.

    Of course, we can imagine a situation in which this isn’t so offensive – maybe if it were worn by a straight ally who’s in touch with and proud of his/her sexuality, as well. But we all know that this is never the context in which this t-shirt is worn. The point of this shirt is to denigrate LGBTs.

    In 2001, a Minnesota teen wore a shirt like this to his high school. Amazingly, the school demanded that he change it and not wear it to school again. The boy took them to court, and won. This story itself isn’t so bad – people do have free speech after all, and this shirt is not so inflammatory. But the reason he wore this shirt to school? He wanted to “protest” the fact that the school had recently set up “safe rooms” for LGBT youth. This kid, who also said he doesn’t condone violence against gays, was protesting a program to prevent violence against gays! Even worse, his lawyer (who could have simply taken the free speech path) made a statement likening the boy to a hero for standing up against school programs that “promote immorality” and the deterioration of “values.” These asses prided themselves in advocating the removal of protection for teens who feel physically threatened by homophobes. That’s one definition of the kind of “straight pride” that wearers of this shirt feel.

    That being said, I really don’t like the fact that serious members’ posts are being hidden because a set amount of people disagree with them. We need that feature for bigots of the Michael Letterman kind that come here and spam hatred, not for members with slightly different opinions.

  • B

    Their graphic (minus the words “straight pride”) would almost have worked at a clothing sale I went to in San Francisco yesterday, a yearly event by a group of mostly(?) gay designers.

    It had a unisex, shared changing room (although there seemed to be just guys in it) for people who did not want to wait for a private area. The most you would have seen was someone’s underpants or maybe a guy with his shirt off for a few seconds, although everyone was mostly just looking for places to put items and trying to get a view in a mirror to see how the clothes fit.

    A symbol meaning “men or women” would have been appropriate, though.

  • Jeremyrh2387

    Hey this is where I live! If I see anyone in this shirt I will give them the finger from all of us.

  • Darcy

    Am I the only one who thinks its fine??
    Straight people can have pride. I dont feel like the statement of the shirt is threatening at all.

  • greenmanTN

    Ah, shit. Does this mean I’m going to have to embrace “gay pride” now? Being gay is just neutral. It’s part of the human condition so it’s a waste of time to form opinions about it one way or the other. It just is. Out of all the various possible comparisons, like race (which is more immediately obvious) or religion (which is definitely a choice, or else why proselytize?), I’ve come up with… left-handedness. Not exactly exciting.

    The existence of Homosexuality isn’t a mystery. It’s the opposition to it that needs explanation.

  • Omiyauski

    I think gay or straight pride is stupid. Is the fact that your sexual preference is gay or straight a reason to take pride? No, it’s not. It’s like saying Blonde Pride or Freckled Pride. There is no reason to be proud of something you were born with.

    Saying that, you should be content with your sexuality, acknowledge that it’s there, it’s natural, and it’s a part of you. As greenmanTN put it, it’s neutral.

    But is it worth having a parade over? No. Is it worth wearing on a shirt? Absolutely not. I think the pride thing on any and all side is ridiculous, and this is coming from a gay man.

  • Omiyauski

    In other words, it is false pride. You should have pride in accomplishments, not in something that you were born with.

  • Derrick Rainey

    Alright first off I would like to say that I do not agree with sexual orientation inequality but I do agree that students should be allowed to wear such shirts if they feel that they want. First off people say that it is infringing on the rights of gays and lesbiands because it is hurtful. Well maybe what they are doing is hurtful to students who are proud to be straight. And if people say it is in the constitution that people can protest the gay rights things then isn’t it also in the constitution that says that people can protest against that. Finally I believe that if schools or other public places are going to infringe on peoples right to wear straight pride shirts then they should infringe on the rights to wear gay pride shirts or the day oof silence. I think that they should either allow them both or they should get rid of both, there is no in between when dealing with peoples rights.

  • ChrisM

    @Derrick Rainey:

    Rainey, your argument sounds so good when you ignore the fact that there is not a level playing field between heterosexuals and LGBTs yet.

    The point is that these people aren’t just wearing straight pride shirts to wear straight pride shirts. If I saw straight allies marching in a gay pride parade with these shirts on, I would have no problem with it. Because then the message is clear – “I’m a proud heterosexual supporter.” But at a Tea-Bagger protest, this shirt basically says “I want to deny gays rights.” And to make that message by mocking “gay pride” is a cheap shot by a bunch of privileged people.

    No one is stopping these people from wearing straight pride shirts. No one is stopping them from protesting gay rights. We are just saying they are ASSHOLES for protesting human rights. What bigots who hate to hear themselves called bigots like to forget is that freedom of speech doesn’t mean people have to respect your speech.

    As for having things like a heterosexual day of silence – what kind of objectives come to mind for such an event? I’d be surprised if you could make one up, let alone had one in mind when you wrote that. If you want ‘equality’ on that silly level, help us make it so that we DON’T need a day of silence. Then that ‘inequality’ won’t exist anymore. Help us obtain equal rights, help us make sexual orientation a non-issue, and then there will be no discrepancies on either end.

  • Ray Kawamura

    @ChrisM: very well said. Couldn’t agree more, even though I still think having pride in something you are born with is false pride.

  • Ray Kawamura

    I had the name Omiyauski, but i got an account on this site, so it pulled my name from facebook. sorry about that :)

  • xhristopherus


    Tolerance is that quality in us that allows us to grant every right which we claim for ourselves to every other human being, or we have no right to claim that right for ourselves.

    So fuck you with your double standards. If Gay people can wear gay pride shirts, and hold gay pride events, then hermaphrodites, lesbians, and heterosexuals may do the same or your right is not equality, but a special set aside making you somehow superior.

    Obviously the iconography is meant to spur thought, but it seems to only have spurred the thoughts of primitive minds, on both sides of the shirt.

    Pity. The shirt is being sold by libertarians who actually believe everyone should have true equal rights. Including gays.

    Had the agenda driven “reporter” who wrote the story bothered to introduce himself, and ask what the shirt represented, then he might have written a fair story. He failed on both counts. His heterophobia, the “Yankee stadium sized chip on his shoulder” formed his opinion before he ever approached me and tried to sneakily get just the information which suited his agenda in his already made up mind.

    Yes, he is a true asshole. I said it to his face, and I say it again.

  • Ray Kawamura

    @xhristopherus: It’s funny you bring up heterophobia, because, it does exist, just like homophobia. Being a gay man, I have witnessed it. Neither homophobia nor heterophobia is anything to be proud of. Neither is your sexual identity. It is one part of you, and something you were born with. No one ever accomplished anything by being gay or straight, so I don’t see where the sense of pride should come from.

    It’s the same with any kind of pride based solely on something like skin colour, hair colour, culture, religion, etc. So, really, both sides are way off on this one.

  • Ray Kawamura

    @xhristopherus: However, as stupid as it is, because they are the majority, if they want to wear straight pride shirts, then there is no reason they shouldn’t. Speaking as a gay man myself, gays do not corner the market on “pride”, and shouldn’t be offended if others want to express it, however misguided it might be.

  • ChrisM


    Please reread what I wrote. I don’t hold any double standards. In fact, I clearly said “no one is stopping these people from wearing these shirts.” Nor do I believe anybody should stop them. We have freedom of speech, after all. I also have the freedom to dislike the speech of others.

    A double standard is allowing heterosexuals to marry and not allowing the same for homosexuals. A double standard would be to allow people to wear gay pride shirts but not straight pride shirts. What I am saying is, given the context, these shirts have fundamentally different meanings. Gay pride shirts have an inherently social and political message to them, which is “grant equality to LGBTs.” As Ray Kawamura keeps noting, the reason “pride” is used could not possibly be that we are proud of something we had no control over. Instead, it’s a statement that we won’t feel shame or inferiority because of our sexual orientation, and we won’t be content until we have full equality under the law.

    Now for the straight pride shirts. The same reasoning applies – you can’t possibly be proud of something you had no control over. So the statement must be purely political (as one should be able to see from the start, as this was a political rally). So what’s the message? Equality for heterosexuals? Since the people who were buying these shirts are known for their opposition to marriage equality, it seems clear to me that their donning this shirt was meant to send the message “keep gays out of marriage.” Can you see how that is offensive? In fact, I would think this should be more offensive to decent heterosexuals who are seeing “straight pride” be associated with this message.

    You can’t just yell “double standard” without considering the context – nothing exists outside of a context. Would you call it a double standard that men’s bathrooms have urinals in them, while most women’s bathrooms don’t? The difference here is gay pride shirts are not meant to denigrate heterosexuals but instead are meant to empower a group that has been disenfranchised. If there was ever a context in which a gay pride shirt was worn as a statement against heterosexuals, I would be just as much offended by it as I am by the tea-baggers wearing these straight pride shirts.

    You are here trying to pretend that people were buying your shirts with no other motives but to show off how proud they are of their heterosexuality. You are here trying to defend your image, after you got caught trying to make money off of homophobia. So fuck YOU. Keep selling your shirts, you have every right. But there’s no point in deluding yourself that your customer base is going to consist of anything but bigots.

  • xhristopherus


    Firstly, I was not the vendor selling those tshirts. I was next to him, the reporter in the story assumed since we were in close proximity ( sharing lights, it was dark in Lansing that night)that we also sold each other’s merchandise. SO his story is completely wrong.

    Secondly, your post in one sentence states you hold no double standard, then goes on in the next sentence to defend a double standard by pretending the messages are anything other than what they are. Straight Pride or Gay pride, mean basically the same thing, I am who I am and I am proud of it irrespective of what the rest of the world may think about it.

    So what if one mocking, in your face message mocks another equally mocking, in your face message?

    Claiming a right for yourself, while simultaneously wishing to or actually denying that self same right to another, is a double standard.

    Goose meet gander.

    The real bigots are the ones who want special set aside rights which they wish not to allow others ( I get to use the iconography and word “pride” to describe MY sexuality, but YOU may not because Blah Blah Blah…..

    Special considerations are not equality. If you want tolerance, and equality, then you will first have to GIVE it.

    Fucking hypocrites.

    The Jerk reporter sneakily recorded me and them applied my answers to another vendors product.

    I have since started carrying that shirt, I have sold 120 of them in Miami Beach this weekend at a Gay Pride event here. mostly gay men bought them as gifts for other family members. They seem to get the irony, they understand the satire, they get the joke. Uptight shut ins don’t seem to.

  • xhristopherus


    I am completely against “legalizing” gay marriage. Not because I don’t want gay people to enjoy the same rights as heterosexuals, quite the contrary. I want the United States Government,and state Governments to get out of the marriage business altogether.

    That means regulate legal matters among “life partners” with civil unions between two parties gay or straight and leave marriage up to the individual’s conscience, their religious beliefs and their traditions.

    Congress shall make NO LAW, respecting the establishment of religion.

    Marriage has traditionally been a community event to mark the union of two people in public pronouncements in order to make it clear that the two people are off the market and are to be considered “one”

  • xhristopherus

    Not to mention you extrapolate a lot out of a simple pictograph with two words.

  • Cassandra

    “I am completely against “legalizing” gay marriage. Not because I don’t want gay people to enjoy the same rights as heterosexuals, quite the contrary. I want the United States Government,and state Governments to get out of the marriage business altogether.”

    Put your money where your keyboard is then. Fund a ballot measure in your state to eliminate the civil contract of marriage.

    Everyone here already knows you won’t. For all the times that stealth homophobes have said ‘I oppose marriage for everyone’ – no one has tried to bar heterosexuals from marry too. You are using standard hetero-sexist false claims about marriage, and fooling no one.

    Marriage is a civil contract, a legal document that delineates the responsibilities of the two parties to each other, and to their community. Your lie is exposed – the excuse of opposing marriage completely is just a charade.

    And frankly, I doubt that the reporter made a mistake. Given the overtly homophobic nature of your posts, it is clear where your sentiments truly lie – in the gutter with other homophobes.

    You’ve lied about the arguments others have made, falsely accusing them of prejudices they are not articulating, while defending prejudice against GLBTQ people. If you want approval for your lifestyle choice, go ask Fred Phelps for a hug, or one of his daughters in marriage.

  • Cassandra

    “you extrapolate a lot out of a simple pictograph with two words”

    Laughing Out Loud.

    That is pretty much the point of pictographs – a simple symbol communicating a complex and nuanced message through its cultural associations and context.

    Do you sell dehumanizing t-shirts for a living because you failed high school, or because you went to high school in Mississippi?

  • Matt

    Why are people getting so offended? Gay people really can’t say anything especially with all the lame gay pride paraphernalia they are always flaunting. I’m gay, but I am not into the pride thing and like I said, I think it’s lame. This t-shirt is equally lame. But offensive??? Get a grip.

  • ChrisM


    Matt, I actually don’t think they’re so great, either. Even if they are meant to fight shame that some people have tried to push on the LGBT community, there are better ways to do that than wearing a shirt. But that isn’t the point. The point is that these tea-baggers selling straight pride shirts are once again pushing homophobia and inequality behind a disguise of victimization of their free speech.

    Xhristopherus, the reason you have been able to sell straight pride shirts at a gay pride parade is the EXACT reason I mentioned above. I told you they would not be offensive at a gay pride parade, because in that context pride simply is PRIDE. I think it is cool that people are buying them at the parades. They’re totally appropriate there.

    But when the tea-baggers buy them, they are not at any kind of pride parade. They are at a political rally campaigning for conservative measures, one of which is marriage inequality. In this context, the “straight pride” that they have is quite easily seen to be (without very much extrapolation at all, actually; we all know their opinion on this matter) pride in marriage being between a straight man and a straight woman.

    You call this a double standard. If you mean me saying that the same words in two different situations, in two completely different contexts can have two different meanings, then look up the phrase “double standard.” You can bet I’d have a problem with a radical gay, anti-heterosexual group using “gay pride” as a slogan, because then it would be meant to promote hate. My beef is not with straights buying straight pride shirts. My beef is with tea-baggers sporting them as an anti-gay message. I’m allowed to have a problem with that. As long as you are still allowed to sell and wear the shirt, I don’t see why you care so much that I don’t like the tea-baggers wearing them.

  • ChrisM

    “They seem to get the irony, they understand the satire, they get the joke.”

    This reminds me that you have not yet said what interpretation you think the tea-baggers are applying to the shirt when they buy it. What is the irony or satire you think they see in this shirt, and don’t you think it would be lost on people who oppose gay rights from the offset?

  • Ryan

    I thought this was an Onion article, then I realized that these straight pride shirts don’t have people fucking on them, and the proceeds go to the Tea Party. Usually the Tea Party makes things funnier, but it doesn’t work if they are trying to be funny.

  • Shannon1981

    Wow I cannot believe they have the gall to do this. Yes, exactly like White Supremacy. The Tea Party is just like the KKK.

  • Bev

    Where can I buy one? If homosexuals can be proud of that an no one is supposed to blink an eye, let straight people be proud of themselves, too!

  • Child, Please!

    It’s so funny seeing all gay-supporting jackals attack those who oppose same-sex relationships. It’s a person’s right to oppose, yet you resort to name-calling when met with opposition. Phucktards.

  • Child, Please!

    @Bev: Exactly! I want one, too! LOL

Comments are closed.