Gay couple asked to reverse "marriage is so gay" shirt at Dollywood

Posted Wednesday, July 27, 2011 11:49 AM | Contributed by Mike Gallagher

A lesbian couple is asking for changes at Dollywood after an employee asked one of the women to turn her T-shirt reading "marriage is so gay" inside-out to avoid offending others on a recent visit to the Tennessee theme park complex. Olivier Odom and Jennifer Tipton said Tuesday they want the park to be more inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families after Odom was asked to reverse her shirt when they visited Dollywood Splash Country next to the Pigeon Forge amusement park.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 11:51 AM
Jeff's avatar

The park was within its right to make the request, but obviously the screw up is that the employee said the shirt wasn't "family friendly." That's a loaded term just asking for controversy.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 12:09 PM

T-Shirt story (true)..

Couple years ago I was at GAdv queued for Toro. I struck up a conversation with a really cute girl in line. Another young lady in her party, who was maybe 15-16 years old, had her back to me. The back of her shirt read: "....When You've Got An A** Like This?" Couple minutes later, she turned around and I could read the front: "Who Needs Big T**s...."

I saw the party again inside Skull Mountain about 2 hours later. The girl was now wearing a Superman logo shirt. I've often wondered if someone complained to Staff and they forced her to wear it (likely,) if a Staff member took it upon him/herself to make her change (likely,) or if she simply bought the Supe shirt (not bloody likely!)

Oddly enough, I saw two other interesting shirts that day. One was on a very slovenly looking fellow (no, NOT me!) and read: "I MAY NOT BE A GYNECOLOGIST, BUT I'LL BE GLAD TO TAKE A LOOK."

The other was for sale in one of the shops: "AN IRISHMAN WALKS OUT OF A BAR. NO, SERIOUSLY..IT COULD HAPPEN!"


The amusement park rises bold and stark..kids are huddled on the beach in a mist

http://support.gktw.org/site/TR/CoastingForKids/General?px=1248054&...fr_id=1372

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 12:12 PM

Jeff, family friendly is in the eye of the beholder. It seems to me that the couple wanted the attention by wearing that shirt in a family friendly amusement park such as Dollywood. The employee was in the right to do such but the park will cow down to the gays and lesbians in the long run.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 12:19 PM

"Marriage is so gay" is a statement that one may need to think about for a second to understand it's true meaning. At face value, it can easily be misinterpreted as gay being a derogatory term, similar to "you're so gay".

I wouldn't take the term "family friendly" as anything against GLBT people. I see "family friendly" meaning an environment free from swearing, bigotry, gay slurs, etc. But at the same time, I'm straight, so not as sensitive to the bigotry that they may face on a daily basis. I just don't see this as one of those cases.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 12:24 PM

Not surprising given the very conservative nature of a significant portion of Dollywood's clientele. Jeff nailed it with the larger issue being the way the situation was (possibly) handled. A shirt with profanities is easy to handle, "Reverse it now, it's offensive".

A shirt that contains no profanities, and uses mild double entendre to advance a political viewpoint, that unfortunately is anathema to a large swath of a park's target base, that's much more touchy.

I'll also say I enjoyed reading the PR guy twist himself in knots making his statement. Must be tough to be in that spot.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 12:27 PM
birdhombre's avatar

Majorcut said:
but the park will cow down to the gays and lesbians in the long run.

Cow down? I don't want to hear about what kinky stuff those Tennesseeans are into.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 12:37 PM

Its surprising because it actually seems hypocritical. Don't use the term in that way when you don't want others to use it as such either.

African Americans use a certain word known as slander against them - to each other all the time. The meaning to them coming from the right person is not the same as the term used from someone they don't know.


Just as such, if you're gay don't use the term (verbally or in text) around people who wont know what you mean. Because then its not like you're able to defend yourself and say "I don't mean it like that" because if that's the case, everyone can use it and just make up a meaning.

Bold but stupid move on their part. And in Dollywood no less, part of the Bible belt.


As someone else said, don't kick the ant hill. And Ill add, don't use the very term you're trying to get everyone to stop using. That's just asinine.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 12:54 PM
Jeff's avatar

Wow, really? You don't see the clever irony in the shirt? I think it's brilliant. If you get it, it's not even political, it's just kind of funny. Furthermore, intolerance and ignorance knows no geography. Gay people live in Tennessee, too, and as such, I don't give anyone a free pass for being ignorant.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 12:56 PM

Real said:
Its surprising because it actually seems hypocritical. Don't use the term in that way when you don't want others to use it as such either.

African Americans use a certain word known as slander against them - to each other all the time. The meaning to them coming from the right person is not the same as the term used from someone they don't know.


Just as such, if you're gay don't use the term (verbally or in text) around people who wont know what you mean. Because then its not like you're able to defend yourself and say "I don't mean it like that" because if that's the case, everyone can use it and just make up a meaning.

Bold but stupid move on their part. And in Dollywood no less, part of the Bible belt.


As someone else said, don't kick the ant hill. And Ill add, don't use the very term you're trying to get everyone to stop using. That's just asinine.

Think you're missing the point. The point is that now marriage actually is "gay", at least in several states, the District of Columbia, and several other countries.

and in the sense of the t-shirt, it's not "re-appropriating" a term, like the certain word you refer to. It's a statement of fact that plays into the READER's usage of the word. From a marketing perspective, actually quite brilliant.

Dollywood isn't catching any breaks here, as the story is now the featured image on the Yahoo News Home page. OUCH.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 1:11 PM
DaveStroem's avatar

I too find the "so gay" portion of the shirt to be hypocritical. They even run commercials to "educate" people that it is offensive. So if they find the term "so gay" offensive, they even in a clever twist, it is still offensive.

We were at SDC yesterday and even I (born again christian) found the gospel messages a bit over the top for a place that I paid to go to.


Before you can be older and wiser you first have to be young and stupid.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 1:14 PM

Of the relative many GLBT people I know, not one of them finds the word "gay" offensive.


Brandon | Facebook

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 1:20 PM
DaveStroem's avatar

If you're responding to me, get the quote right. "so gay" not just "gay" is the offensive term they are talking about.

How do your friends feel about that, my GLBT friends do find it offensive.

If you were not responding to me, then carry on and ignore this post :)


Before you can be older and wiser you first have to be young and stupid.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 1:26 PM

DaveStroem said:
I too find the "so gay" portion of the shirt to be hypocritical. They even run commercials to "educate" people that it is offensive. So if they find the term "so gay" offensive, they even in a clever twist, it is still offensive.\

So the women who were forced to turn their shirts inside out ran commercials educating people on the offensiveness of the term gay?


Bolliger/Mabillard for President in '08 NOT Dinn/Summers

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 1:31 PM

DaveStroem said:
If you're responding to me, get the quote right.

Sorry for the confusion. Yes, I was referring to "so gay".

And no, they do not find it offensive in the least.


Brandon | Facebook

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 1:32 PM
DaveStroem's avatar

No, they are PSA put out by the Ad Counsel.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEpBYKOs3ys
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nasp3euSqjM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ejCqgAKZ-M
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9Jf59TGxaU


Before you can be older and wiser you first have to be young and stupid.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 1:35 PM

So there is a governing body for all GLBT, that reflect the feelings and opinions of all GLBT?


Bolliger/Mabillard for President in '08 NOT Dinn/Summers

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 1:38 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

I think people would be offended by any term when it's offered in a derogatory or malicious way. The question is whether the intent of this shirt was clear enough not to be offensive by anyone reading it at the park. I'm not sure it was.

I think it was best said in the other closed thread that the irony may not be clear for everyone. For example, I would imagine many wouldn't have realized the person wearing it is a lesbian.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 1:40 PM
birdhombre's avatar

^ Everything Carrie said. :)

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 1:40 PM

On the back of the shirt did it read "not that there's anything wrong with that."?

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