The gay community continues to deny homonormativity, even as the proof of its existence continues to shine shamelessly through media representation, dating norms, how the community organizes and protests, and now, the clothes that we wear, like this homormative shirt that says it all.
— FOR CLUB USE ONLY (@BITTER_TEEN) April 26, 2016
As a quick refresher, homonormativity in the simplest terms, is an insidious set of norms and expectations that simultaneously privileges those who successfully mimic heterosexual culture and marginalizes those who do not. Homonormativity influences how the queer community acts and how they feel, and can explain among many things, why a nation of people organized for gay marriage but why the battle for trans equality, even just to use the bathroom safely, remains dominantly fought by trans people themselves.
Fit, masculine, gay white men continue to take center stage, ruthlessly lashing out at those who try to further conversations about homonormativity. They'll find every excuse in the book to explain away the racism, classism, sexism, and other -isms that homonormativity encourages. They'll claim statements like "no fats," "no fems," "no asians," and "no blacks" are nothing more than preferences which they can't be blamed for, despite the fact that dating, attraction, and desire are and have always been political.
Offensive shirts like the one above allow inter-community hate to become commodities that we can proudly display, like we're so advanced as a community that we can laugh about stuff like this. We can't. We're not even close to that point yet.
This is about much more than a tacky tank top. This is about a community excusing hatred under the guise of preference. It becomes a twisted game in which the winner is always the dominant, white part of the community because they have all the power whether it was taken or given to them. People use the word "preference" when they don't really know what it means. The big question is, since when is it okay to judge an entire group of people before you meet them? They've got a word for that: prejudice.
Unless you've met every fat, fem, differently abled, Asian, Black, Native American, gender fluid, or person of any other identifier on the planet, you are not capable of making statements like, "I'm just not attracted to X people." You DON'T know that you're not attracted to them, and if you feel like you do, it's because you've reduced the community to lesser than you or the people you like, which is not and will never be okay.
At the end of the day, cheap clothing like this does nothing but empower queer people to hate themselves and others. Homonormativity exists whether people are brave enough to admit it or not. It's existed for a long time now. This isn't a new thing. It shouldn't take a (thoughtful) drag queen on national TV talking about these issues for us to accept it as real (although it's cool that she did and that we are).
I have an idea for a non-tacky tank. How about, "No hate, No judgment, No preferences"? Lord knows we'll probably have a, "No blacks, No drag queens" tank before we'll get something loving and inclusive.