A biker bar in Wyoming has caused outrage after it refused to stop selling T-shirts which say “shooting f****ts” is the “cure AIDS”.
Eagle’s Nest is a biker bar in the state’s capital city Cheyenne which had been selling T-shirts featuring an old man pointing a gun, emblazoned with the words: “In Wyoming we have a cure for AIDS, we shoot f**k’n f****ts.”
The shirts were brought to light by LGBT+ rights group Wyoming Equality, which revealed on social media that it had tried to convince the bar to stop selling them.
The organisation wrote: “We hoped that they would choose to stop selling them when they realised the harm it did to the LGBT+ community and those living with AIDS.”
“It is a sad day,” it added. “Wyoming Equality understands that, this sucks… This shirt is not who we are. Let’s make that clear. Today and everyday.”
On Monday (12 July), Eagle’s Nest owner Ray Bereziuk told The Cheyenne Post that the bar was no longer selling the shirts, not because of the horrific homophobic message, but because they had sold out. He added that he would not be reordering them, as he is “in the bar business, not the apparel business”.
More than two decades ago, 21-year-old gay student Matthew Shepard was tortured and left for dead by two men in Laramie, Wyoming, in a murder than became known around the world.
But in the 22 years since then, the state has still failed to pass a hate crime law.
In response to the homophobic T-shirts sold by the biker bar, Judy Shepard, Matthew’s mother and board president of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, told the Casper Star-Tribune: “Wyoming has had 22 years to pass Hate Crime legislation and every year our legislators parrot the line that the Equality State doesn’t need this law.
“It is time for Wyoming to face reality and recognize that we are losing our youth, our economic potential and our soul. The time to take a stand is now, not after another family loses their child.”
Wyoming Equality’s executive director, Sara Burlingame, wrote on social media that she hoped the incident would inspire LGBT+ people and allies in the state to take positive action.
She wrote: “Want to make it unpopular to be a bigot? Donate to Wyoming Equality or Wyoming AIDS Assistance. Put a pride flag up in your business or home. Wear one of our cool AF shirts. Pass a Hate Crime bill. Invest in queer joy and resilience.
“Let the haters hate in their own misery. Keep Wyoming queer and wild.”