Has Dolly Parton turned her back on the very audience that continue to make her shows a sell out? Has the queen of country turned away from the hand that feed her global image?
An employee at her Tennessee DollyWood park asked a lesbian customer wearing a gay marriage T-shirt to turn it inside out because it could be deemed as offensive to other visitors.
Olivier Odom was told on arrival to turn her T-shirt – emblazoned with the sarcastic “Marriage is so Gay” slogan – inside out and was also reminded “this is a family park”, as reported by Tennessee channel WBIR.
Odom, who visited the Dollywood attraction with her wife Jennifer Tiptin and some friends with children, described how she felt she was singled-out by the male gatekeeper and discriminated against by the park, which is themed around country singer Dolly Parton.
“I was in disbelief. I didn’t think it was the policy of Dollywood to discriminate against the LGBT community,” Odom told WBIR. “I was curious what he found offensive about the shirt. If it was the fact that it had the word gay on it or that it was in conjunction with the word marriage,” she added.
Odom duly turned her t-shirt inside out, as she didn’t want to spoil the day for her friends’ children, but subsequently wrote a letter to the park authorities through the Campaign for Southern Equality organisation.
She states in the letter, as reported by WBIR: “To ensure that your customers are not treated this way in the future, I would like to see Dollywood; implement policies that are inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people; conduct staff sensitivity training; and issue a public statement indicating that the park is inclusive of all families.” A Dollywood spokesperson said it is its policy for the gatekeepers to use their discretion on how to enforce the dress code rules and stated that the park will continue to look into the incident.
Was the Tshirt slogan offensive? Has it angered you? Is this just a silly little misunderstanding - could it not be that the gate official thought the slogan was using gay in a negative context, therefore offensive to gay people?