My friend Alyce sent me this t-shirt in, I want to say 2002, but I could be wrong, it was around that area. Anyway, she was at a thrift store and she saw it she said that it screamed BUY ME FOR MIKE! so she did. She and I were in a conversation via AOL instant message and she told me she bought me a t-shirt, but she wasn’t sure if I would wear it because of where I lived. Whenever anyone thinks of Bakersfield, they always think redneck, republican and homophobia. I waited for her gift and when it arrived I was more than thrilled.
I wore that shirt all the time. Sometimes I would wear it two days in a row just because I loved its message. I wore it every week no matter if I was going to the mall or the grocery store. I didn’t care because I’m here, I’m queer, get used to it! Besides, I really didn’t think anyone would even understand what it meant, I mean besides it having rainbow colors, I knew people would think it was a gay t-shirt, but I didn’t think they would get its meaning or what statement I was making.
It simply says “JUST WORDS” in random colors with lines of words all mixed together into 1 long sentence in rainbow colors. The words behind JUST WORDS are simple words like milk, tree, bed, nipple, cock, breast, fag…. you know, your typical average every day words. There are some that were so offensive that I was afraid that those words would stand out only to those who they offended, but nobody really got it so I felt comfortable wearing it out in public.
I was standing in the express lane at the grocery store one day and this woman glanced at my shirt and looked away, then glanced back at it a couple more times then said to me “I like your shirt” and I so wasn’t expecting to hear that. I was expecting to hear “You got some nerve…. yadda yadda yadda” but it was quite the opposite. Then another person, and another and another and it made me feel confident every time I wore it. Of course some people needed an explanation, so I had to point out a few choice words and explain that the whole message that no matter what word you see on this shirt, it’s just a word, fag has no more meaning to me than the word cigarette which in fact is what they refer to it in the UK. I don’t get offended when someone calls me a cigarette, so why would I get offended when someone calls me a fag? It’s just a stupid insignificant word that means nothing to me.
I wore that shirt for so many years that it got so faded and now you can’t read anything because it has been washed so many times that the colors are fading and the words are cracking, so you can’t really read it at all.
A few years ago I decided that I wanted another one, but more in my current size since I had gained weight since the last time I wore my shirt. I put the shirt on my desk and I just started typing those words out. Of course I had to add some, delete some and change some because it was so difficult to read behind the big words that I just had to improvise. I came up with something that looks nearly the same as the very original, and I think I did a great job if I do say so myself.
So here is the image, if you like it then grab it so you can print it on your own shirt and wear it with pride.
Of course, I encourage anyone who wants to duplicate this to just go into gimp or photo shop and just start typing words and making it any way you want, or you can just click the image above and save it to your computer and print it (backwards) on iron-on paper and print it as is. This is a replica of the above shirt but with a few modifications.
Enjoy, and let me know if you printed it and wore it somewhere. Take a picture of you wearing it so I can see and share it with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. I’d be very curious to see how you look in it and what your friends and family had to say about it, whether they loved it or hated it lol.
UPDATE: LOL I had to make a few corrections…