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Pride organizers claim discrimination by ‘Christian’ t-shirt supplier

Plans complaint with Human Rights commission
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Organizers of the Lexington Pride Festival have filed a complaint against local apparel company, Hands On Originals, after the owner refused to print t-shirts for the city’s annual pride event, and said it was because his is “a Christian organization.”

According to Paul Brown, chairman of the Gay and Lesbian Service Organization (GLSO) of Lexington, the committee received a quote from “Hands On Originals” last December by phone to produce t-shirts for the 5th annual Pride Festival in Lexington.

The quote from Hands On Originals was the lowest bid from a local company, but when a committee member contacted Hands On Originals intending to move forward with having them produce the shirts, he was referred to “Blaine,” who represented himself as an owner of the company.

According to Brown, Blaine inquired about who the GLSO was, their organization’s mission is, and the event GLSO was promoting.

Blaine’s response was, “You know we’re a Christian organization, don’t you?”

In fact the company’s website does bill the organization as “Christian Outfitters.”

The committee member explained that the t-shirt would only contain a stylized number “5″ on the front and the name of the festival, and sponsors on the reverse, but according to Brown, Hands On Originals offered to refer the Pride organizers to a different business who would print the shirts, and said they would not print shirts related to a gay pride festival.

“This wouldn’t be acceptable to do (to) a black group,” said Brown. “This wouldn’t be acceptable to do to a Jewish group and because of the fairness ordinance it’s unacceptable to do it to a gay group.”

A spokesperson for the GLSO told LGBTQ Nation on Tuesday, that its board of directors on Sunday agreed to file a discrimination complaint with the city of Lexington’s Human Rights Commission.

The board does not wish to engage in nor does it condone name-calling, bad-mouthing, or threatening businesses. The board has two simple goals in this situation: 1) educating the community and 2) refusing to tolerate discrimination.

The board does not agree with discrimination in any manner and will not tolerate discrimination. Lexington has had a Fairness Ordinance for 13 years because the citizens of Lexington voted against discrimination.

The GLSO believes in the Fairness Ordinance and refuses to let discrimination go unanswered.

Attempts by LGBTQ Nation to get a response from Hands On Originals were unsuccessful.

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