As part of June’s “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month,” Gap Inc.’s Old Navy is selling gay pride t-shirts under the banner, "Love Proudly: Pride 2011" — a move that has not only (predictably) irked the anti-gay faction, but also (surprisingly) the gay community.
“June is Ready to make a fashion statement for a great cause?” the family friendly brand so proudly announced on Facebook. “We’re carrying colorful Gay Pride t-shirts in select stores with 10% of the proceeds going to the It Gets Better Project!”
So how did that announcement about the rainbow-colored tees rub some LGBT activists the wrong way? They're being sold in only 26 stores — that’s 26 out of 1,009 stores in the US — prompting Queerty to ponder, “That’s 26 stores in about 16 different states, meaning kids in Kentucky, Tennessee and other places that need them never even had a chance to see or order them online. Was Old Navy’s selective marketing a way to avoid an anti-gay boycott or merely cash in on queer-friendly cities?”
Turns out the brand was listening.
Old Navy just announced their decision to release Pride shirts in more US cities going forward, responding to the frustration expressed on their “Love Proudly” Facebook page:
“While we understand your frustration at the limited numbers of stores that will carry this line of shirts, please know that this is a step in the right direction. With enough positive feedback, it’s possible that we will continue this tradition next year and have the product available in even more locations. Feel free to spread the word and have your friends send their positive requests to expand the availability!”
Meanwhile, back at the pro-family ranch, Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, says the campaign “is foolish and will be unprofitable because it has angered both sides of the political spectrum.”
“This is a lose situation for them. Because they have made the gays and transgender people mad and they are making the pro-family people mad. [The gay community] is mad because they are not in all the stores, they have over a thousand locations and they are only in 27 stores.”
Lafferty told DC she will never shop at Old Navy again.
Gap Inc.’s explanation of the 26 store release, “As we do with a lot of our newer items, we created a limited supply to support the ‘It Gets Better Project’…and rolled them out to stores in 26 markets (these are listed on our Facebook page under “events.”) Customers not in those markets can contact their local Old Navy store, to order a t-shirt to be shipped to them.”
If you care, contact Old Navy at email@example.com. It may not be a big enough step, yet, but it’s one more major (mass market) retailer taking a stand for gay rights.