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February 19, 2010 / Katie

Believe Out Loud

I recently became aware of an awesome new campaign called Believe Out Loud. Their front page says:

Believe Out Loud supports churches in becoming fully open to all – gays and lesbians included. It begins with a conversation and we’re here to help.

As much as I LOVE this idea—raising awarness, linking inclusivness with living out our faith—their store paints a slightly different picture.

Here is yet another example where just because a person or group is progressive and “gets it right” in one area doesn’t mean they will get it right in all areas. I’m not normally a t-shirt buying type, honestly. But I really like these, enough that I’d like to buy a t-shirt. But my problem is, the two styles that I like best, and are ostensibly “for me” are likely not to fit. One is the “women’s” regular gray shirt with the logo, which only goes up to an American Apparel XL, which according to their site is a 12-14… which, yeah, SO not happening. The other is the pink, “beloved bi” shirt, which goes up to an XXL but according to AA’s site is only a 16-18 which, again, very unlikely to fit (I usually run in the 20-22 range).

There are some XXXL shirts available, in the “men’s” styles and the homo, bi, and trans shirts. But basically, anyone bigger than me is pretty much unable to be included in this way. So, fat LGBTIQ and allies? Still marginalized. We are, yet again, stuck buying the “accessories” (buttons, stickers, etc.) because there’s nothing else in this “mainstream” store that fits us.

To tangent off the fat issue for a moment, another question I have is WHY on earth is the “bi” shirt PINK and the only “women’s” style of any of the specifically identifying shirts? The “blessed homo,” “Christian in transition,” “verily, verily gay,” and “straight but not narrow” shirts are all “unisex.” Why is “bi” women’s? And why does it have to be that god-awful pink color?

Here’s a radical idea: perhaps none of the shirts should be gender-designated, and should all come in the same size ranges, on a site that is ostensibly about inclusiveness for ALL.

When I commented about no plus sizes on the “preview shop” that came out a few weeks ago on the Facebook page, I mostly got comments in agreement from others in support but there was one guy who felt the need to mansplain to us that we were being silly and overreacting because durrr, plus sizes would eventually be added. And, this may be a complete shock to you all, but it turns out that I was right and mansplainer was wrong! The highest sizes are in the shirts designated “men” or “unisex” and let’s face it, an American Apparel XXXL is still going to be too small for a hell of a lot of people, who are still left out. So I made another comment on the Facebook page about the current store and the official person who replied said, “Because of budget constraints, we’re only able to work with one manufacturer at this point (AA), but as the campaign grows, we hope to be able to provide more options for all of our amazing supporters.”

You know what? Just once I would like to voice a concern like this and not be told that I’m overreacting or receive some bullshit excuse. If it was about budget, and you actually cared about fatties like me, you would have chosen a different supplier in the first place. What actually happened is that no one thought of us till it was too late. It would be nice if someone would, you know, just admit that. And maybe apologize for, yet again, excluding me and others like me.

Yeah, that would be nice.

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4 Comments

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  1. Fantine / Feb 19 2010 6:48 pm

    I recently wrote to the artist of a web comic that I love and told him I would really, really like to buy one of his t-shirts, except that the women’s sizes only go up to XL.

    He wrote back saying it was because AA only goes up to XL in women’s, and I replied that I was aware of that, and that it really sucks, and that’s why I am not buying from him. I was surprised when he wrote back again asking if a men’s XXXL is really that different from a women’s XXXL, and I explained how men’s shirts fit differently and are not made for women’s bodies.

    He did not respond, but I notice he has since posted chest/waist measurements for all sizes of shirts. Sigh.

    I’m still not buying a shirt that only comes in sizes above XL if you’re a man. I simply refuse to waste my money on clothes that only kind of fit.

  2. Rosie / Feb 22 2010 5:10 am

    I had this problem with T-shirts for a singer I love, so I wrote to ask why they thought all his female fans were thin, and got a similar reply to yours. I still buy his albums, because I love the music, but no more T-shirts for me.

    I’ve only recently started reading your blog, which I found through the links on the Health at Every Size page, and I just wanted to say I think it’s great. For so long the only “theological” reactions I have had to being fat have been “You’re fat, so obviously you’re greedy, and gluttony’s a sin so you’re going to hell” or “But God still loves you!” – the latter more often, to be fair, but it doesn’t really help that much.

  3. Heidi / Feb 22 2010 5:27 pm

    ThinkGeek has the same problem…and I’m sorry, but there are plenty of IT guys larger than I am (or similarly sized) and whom, therefore, wouldn’t fit any of the shirts they have.

    The women’s tees don’t come above an XL, I don’t think.

  4. wriggles / Feb 23 2010 4:37 am

    It would be nice if someone would, you know, just admit that. And maybe apologize for, yet again, excluding me and others like me.

    Yeah, that would be nice.

    It would be wouldn’t it? For now we’ll just have to continue to dare to dream!

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