An Ohio teenager won the right to wear a “Jesus is not a homophobe” t-shirt at his high school. Maverick Couch first wore the t-shirt in April 2011 to commemorate a “Day of Silence”, an event where participants remain silent throughout the day, representative of the inability of many LGBT students to speak out against bullying due to fear, undeserved shame, doubt, etc. Being a young gay man himself and participating in an LGBT awareness event, Maverick thought nothing much of donning his thought-provoking and pro-LGBT t-shirt. The Powers that Be at the high school, however, probably incensed that dem der homos get a whole day to themselves in the first place, told Maverick that he had to wear the shirt inside-out in order to hide the supposedly-incendiary message. Later that same year, Maverick asked his principal for permission to wear the shirt again. This time, he was threatened with suspension if he wore the shirt. Unfortunately for the high school, instead of wearing the shirt, Maverick decided to sue the school, alleging that his First Amendment rights were trounced. The suit snowballed, and soon brought the controversy to a global audience, providing yet more evidence that the Streisand Effect should not be taken lightly.
Today the settlement of the suit was finalized. The high school agreed to allow Maverick to wear the shirt when- and wherever he may choose. Also, the lucky duck got a $20,000 award plus legal fees for the trampling of his rights just when he’s about to graduate and go to college. Talk about a nice scholarship. I’m kind of jealous: this kid gets a cool name (Maverick Couch? Awesome) and a substantial windfall just as student loans are hitting their zenith.
Just goes to show you that you can disagree with what someone says via t-shirt, but you can’t force them to stop saying it. And for the record, the phrase on Maverick’s shirt is actually correct. Jesus said absolutely nothing on the subject of homosexuality, for or against. Although, I guess that could mean He could have been a closet homophobe — thinking about it, but not speaking his mind. I’d like to think the same guy who said “Love thy neighbor as thyself” wouldn’t force someone to reverse a controversial t-shirt, though.