Cheyenne Bar Called Out for Selling Violent, Anti-Gay T-Shirts
Wyoming Equality Executive Director Sara Burlingame says the fact that a Cheyenne biker bar is being called out over the sale of violent, homophobic T-shirts shows "the times are changing."
The nonprofit, which advocates for LGBTQ and Two Spirit Wyomingites, started a social media storm Saturday when it posted a picture of the T-shirt the Eagle's Nest was selling, which reads, "IN WYOMING WE HAVE A CURE FOR AIDS; WE SHOOT F*CK'N F*GGOTS."
Burlingame says she became aware of the T-shirt last Thursday and went into the bar asking the owner, Ray Bereziuk, to remove and stop carrying the T-shirts.
"The guy agreed to not order any more," she said. "But then when it went up on social media I went back and was like okay, thanks for saying you wouldn't order any more, but you got to yank what you have so I can tell people that you agreed to do that ... They were like no, we can make a lot of money off of them now, they just got real popular."
Calls to the Eagle's Nest on Thursday weren't answered, but Bereziuk reportedly told The Cheyenne Post on Monday that his bar had stopped selling the T-shirts.
"Ten years ago, they sell it and business as usual," said Burlingame. "Now, Wyoming Equality has a larger presence in the state, the governor and the director of tourism for Cheyenne called it out, downtown businesses put up pride flags, inundated the office with calls of support ... none of that happened ten years ago."
"The good news is, is that we have evolved into a place that recognizes that is not acceptable and you can't just bury your head in the sand and say, 'Well, some people,'" she added. "And I think for a lot of people who were hesitant about supporting hate crime legislation, I think it was kind of a click for them."
Burlingame says while the discontinued sale of the T-shirt is a step in the right direction, more needs to be done.
"Policy alone won't do it," she said. "What's next is for everyday Wyomingites to ask themselves if they've been complicit in a culture that dehumanizes gay people."
"This stuff doesn't go away on its own," she added. "It goes away when we decide that we've had enough and it doesn't represent us, it doesn't represent our values."