Charlottesville is about to celebrate pride, but the planning hit an unexpected problem proving exactly why we still need these events.
Cville Pride reports that their usual vendor, Red Star, outsourced the group’s shirt order to Pennsylvania-based Legacy Athletics. That company refused to fill the order, claiming the message was too “political.”
The logo reads, “Y’all Means All,” this year’s theme.
Legacy Athletics sent the following reply to Charlottesville Pride’s shirt 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.
A “Unite the Right” rally that brought neo-Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacists to Charlottesville, ostensibly to protest against the planned removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, resulted in violence and death.
Red Star responded when made aware of the message from Legacy Athletics:
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!
Charlottesville Pride organizers point out that this is why we still need pride:
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.
Charlottesville’s pride event takes place on Saturday, September 16, at the Sprint Pavilion, 700 E. Main St.