LGBTQ is a common acronym that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. But a Northern Kentucky barbecue food truck took the meaning and twisted it to sell merchandise in a move that has been called insensitive and hateful.
Belle’s BBQ sold T-shirts that depicted LGBTQ as meaning Liberty, Guns, Bible, Trump, and BBQ. The shirts first caught widespread attention when the owner, Jamie Smith, started advertising the shirts on social media.
Smith told Fox19 that he started selling the shirts two years ago after he “found” the acronym on Facebook and “added the Q.” He said he has sold about 100 shirts and advertised it on Facebook on Thursday to get more sales.
The BBQ joint is based in Williamstown, Kentucky, but Smith travels all over the state to peddle his food for three years. It wasn’t until the shirts, however, that he started getting real attention.
Smith took down the original post on Facebook which read: “We are going to stock up on some Swag. Hat and shirts. Let me know what yall want via text message. We are going to have our traditional Belles shirts, trucker hats. We will also have our LGBTQ shirts as well Belle’s logo on the back. For those who said (wtf)”.
Smith replaced it with a sort of apology after the post that went viral and attracted intense criticism: “Belle’s Smoking BBQ apologizes if we have offended any groups, organizations or individuals with our shirts. We respect all beliefs and lifestyles and want no ill will towards anyone. We know each person has their own thoughts and beliefs but we are hurt that the people who are saying, ‘stop the hate’ are the ones coming at us with the harassing messages and threatening phone calls. Again we apologize for any hurt feelings and thank our supporters who truly know us.”
Smith said he will continue to sell the shirts and that he has already sold out of them and has an order in for more.
He said his take on the acronym was just a “play on words.”
However, people are seeing it as bigotry, especially since President Donald Trump’s administration has not been kind to the LGBTQ community. In March, the Department of Defense laid out its plans to ban transgender troops.
In January, the Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights allowed adoption and foster care agencies in South Carolina to discriminate against current and aspiring LGBTQ caregivers.
In May 2018, the Bureau of Prisons adopted an illegal policy of almost entirely housing transgender people in federal prison facilities that match their sex assigned at birth, leaving thousands of transgender people vulnerable to increased assaults. And that’s just the beginning of the current administration’s attacks on the LGBTQ community.