1,000 Years of Gay History Celebrated on New T-shirt Design

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A new Gay Pride design, printed on T-shirts, spotlights the achievements of GLBT celebrities throughout history from Michelangelo to Rock Hudson. Developed by award-winning playwright, Janet S. Tiger, the T-shirt lists 27 important gay celebrities and is based on scholarly research.

What do Michelangelo, Florence Nightingale and Rock Hudson have in common? They are all featured on a new T-shirt design, "What a difference a Gay makes" which spotlights the achievements of GLBT celebrities throughout history. The slogan is superimposed on the "freedom rainbow” and features 27 gay V.I.P.’s.

“After being in theater for many years,” said award-winning playwright Janet S. Tiger, designer of the shirt, “I’ve had the opportunity to work with many talented individuals in the gay community. The concept came to me after a reading of one of my plays at Scripteasers, a play reading group here in San Diego.” Tiger's plays have been produced from New York to New Zealand.

Helping with research for the shirt, which can be seen on FamousGayShirt.com, was Tiger’s friend, Jonathan Dunn-Rankin, theater personality, former Channel 8 news broadcaster and local AFTRA president. “Jonathan was the perfect source for the names since he was a founder and past president of the Gay Academics Union.”

The shirt's list of celebrated figures may be controversial because the sexual orientation of some individuals on the list may be in question by some historians. Leonardo DaVinci, Richard the Lion-Hearted and U.S. Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton, are among those described.

The catalyst for the project is director Diane Shea who has worked with playwright Tiger on numerous productions. “Janet just won the Dubuque Fine Arts Society National Playwriting Contest for her play, ‘Day of Atonement’ -- her fifth time winning in seven entries. Producing these t-shirts is my gift to help pay for her flight. Also, I felt there was a lot of good that could be done through the t-shirt for the gay community and for the theater.”

"I was delighted to hear that a portion of the proceeds would go to help our Arts Ministry,” said Rev. Carla Friedrich, M.Div., pastor of the Swedenborgian Church of San Diego, where Tiger’s most recent play was performed. “It is also consistent with our ministerial philosophy of social justice that all people are an aspect of our divine origins.”

Tiger said that the idea for the design came to her about ten years ago. “It was ahead of its time. Today, Gay Pride is better accepted and legislators here in California are looking at creating gay history courses in schools. We sent a couple of the shirts to some these California legislators.”

The shirt may be seen at FamousGayShirt.com. A portion of the proceeds will benefit gay community causes and theater arts.

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Stanley Tiger