What American Apparel did and why it matters

AmericanApparel-AllyBagIt’s Pride month, and companies are shwoing their support. Which is fantastic. One day we’ll get to the point where people won’t have to SAY that they’re decent human beings who accept that everyone is different, but until that day it’s important for those marginalized by society to know who’s standing with them against a sometimes scary world.

They need to know who their allies are.

What they don’t need are those allies erasing a segment of the population who are marginalized even within a marginalized group. But that’s what American Apparel, HRC, and the Ally Coalition have done with at least one product in American Apparel’s line. Instantly, the asexual, aromantic, and agender comunities stood up and shouted, “NO!” They joined forces behind activist Tiffany Rose and demanded that American Apparel #GiveItBack.

Why? Because A is not for Ally. A is for Asexual, Aromantic, and Agender.

We’ve screamed into the social media void about this before, but this is the first time we’ve ever heard social media echo back at us quite this loudly. The story was picked up by Buzzfeed, Fusion, Refinery 29, Seventeen, and Yahoo. It was amazing, and so encouraging.

Then American Apparel “apologized.”

AmericanApparel-Apology

This is not an apology. This is not a retraction. This is not a promise to do better in the future. This is nothing. All this does is tell us one thing: Yes we saw you, and we know you’re upset, but these other people are more important than you.

I had let other people do the shouting until then, boosting their voices when I could. Seeing that apology enraged me. I don’t usually let things get to me the way this did, but it hit a chord. The wrong one at the wrong time. Or maybe it was the right one at the right time. I wasn’t sure then, and I’m still not.

Sure or not, I took to Twitter and tried to explain to the world why this matters at all. It’s just a bag, and it’s just a word, right?

Wrong.

So what’d I say? You can view the thread on Twitter here, on the Storify site here, or embedded below.

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