In reflecting on being queer and Republican, you have to wonder how you express your party and your LGBT identity in the same breath. Can you? Can you wear that pride? I feel like that’s a definite no.
In doing some research, my assumptions were firmly reinforced: in Google Shopping™, the results for “pro gay Republican shirt” yields lots of results for things that say “Ban Republican Marriage,” direct jabs at their being anti-same sex marriage. But when the search is changed to “pro gay Democrat shirt? It all changes to rainbows and liberal leaning affirmations. Even by the candidate’s sites alone, Trump’s store obviously boasts zero gay apparel (unless dog clothing counts?) while Hillary Clinton’s store is basically a Pride festival.
So are there any LGBT swag items for proud queer Republicans? Yes, but the selections are few and not very good. Thus, here is a ranking of all six pro-queer Republican swag that I found after a thorough Googling™. And do note that zero of these are from actual retailers but instead DIY design sites like Zazzle and Cafe Press. This market is extremely dry, y’all.
6. Insomniac Arts “Yes We Do” Shirt
Simple enough and a font / case study that will make you want to scream (if the watermark wasn’t enough), this shirt just calls it out: yeah, sure, OK, there are gay Republicans—deal with it. Where this loses points is that it is so fucking literal not to mention its poor design. Why not feature gradiated elephant only? Or a gradiated elephant sucking another gradiated elephant’s snout? Free idea, Republicans!
5. Name On My Shirt “A Real Gay” Shirt
Yes, this is technically a pro-Democrat shirt thanks to the ass on it—but that kind of gives it a caché because of its irony, which none of the rest of these swag items have. I also don’t hate the Varsity font usage either. This seems legitimately wearable! Confusing, sure, but not awful.
4. Cafe Press “Inclusion Wins” Shirt
A Republican elephant leaving a fart cloud of an eighties inspired font that says “INCLUSION WINS”? Simple as it is faux distressed. Props to the model for sporting a goatee and a ponytail, too.
3. Cafe Press “Gays For McCain” Pins
In case you didn’t know, the McCain campaign is fairly pro-gay thanks to John McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain being very supportive and active in LGBT rights advocacy. So why not make a little gay pin love for the bygone campaign? The only issue with this is that the gradiated rainbow is so…not that? The rainbow isn’t the full rainbow, failing to hit the red start and purple end, instead landing in a bizarre butch territory. Perhaps that’s desired so that one isn’t confused for being gay? Unsure.
2. Zazzle “I Love” Shirt
Technically not calling out that you are Republican or gay, this bizarre shirt really encapsulates the oxymoron nature of being queer in the Republican house. I can also appreciate its simplicity in being a statement shirt that defies design logic. This is for the outwardly Republican but perhaps more closeted gay which, as we learned earlier today, is definitely a sizable portion of the GOP community.
1. Cafe Pres “Republican Logo” Shirt
What else would be number one? It’s simple and to the point, saying nothing while saying everything. The only issue is that the break in the elephant’s design adds a bizarre extra black strip into the rainbow flag which, really, would be the Republican gay flag: a rainbow broken by nonsensical division. (Also of course the best “gay Republican” swag item is imperfect.)
While this list is limited, I know that somewhere, out there at a convention or lost on an island somewhere on the Internet, is an LGBT Republican swag wonderland. While I am not at the convention, I can bet that there are some pro and anti-LGBT shirts for sale.
(Also, yo, Log Cabin: this is a huge missed opportunity to make nicely designed LGBT political swag since you guys aren’t make any. Huge gap in the market!)