You know those times when it just seems like nothing you do turns out right? That’s how I imagine American Apparel must feel every. single. freaking. day.
The controversy-courting brand’s latest debacle comes courtesy of its new, Donald Trump-mocking “Make America Gay Again” capsule collection — created in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign and the Ally Coalition. Thirty percent of the collection’s sales will go toward supporting the Equality Act and fighting discrimination. The line includes tees, tanks, and a baseball cap featuring the slogan in rainbow hues.
There’s also a $24 tote that plays off the design of AA’s instantly recognizable shopping bags, but instead of listing off cities around the world, it reads “Lesbian/Gay/Bi/Transgender/Queer/Ally.” A snazzy design for a noble cause, right? Well…
It turns out that lots of people are unhappy with the slogan, because when the letter ‘A’ is included in the LGBTQ acronym, it actually stands for either asexual, aromantic, or agender — not ally.
Writer and queer activist Nita Tyndall summed up the discontent in several tweets earlier this week, highlighting the lack of representation afforded to lesser-discussed orientations and the problem with giving the A to straight people:
Others joined her, telling American Apparel to #GiveItBack.
Invalidating ace/aro/agender folks by claiming the A they’ve fought hard to make visible is the exact opposite of allyship. #GiveItBack
— Kim Kaletsky (@kimpossibleokay) June 10, 2016
American Apparel trying to erase asexuality from the A in LGBTQIA:
— Michael Waters (@ABoredAuthor) June 8, 2016
— thepictogirl (@thepictotweets) June 7, 2016
— helen (@aceashell) June 7, 2016
Fusion noted that the Ally Coalition itself is run by two noted straight people: siblings Jack and Rachel Antonoff.
In the wee hours of Friday morning, American Apparel tweeted its own response to the uproar, saying, “We strive to be inclusive in our language and merchandise, recognizing that there are so many identities to celebrate”:
— American Apparel (@americanapparel) June 10, 2016
But to many, the statement rang hollow.
— Chelsea Stickle (@Chelsea_Stickle) June 10, 2016
— Jack (@vesaldi) June 10, 2016
— Briana Elizabeth (@BrianaElizab) June 10, 2016
Whether American Apparel will respond again or alter the bag as requested has yet to be seen. We’ll update this post as the situation continues to develop.