Brooklyn artist Phillip Miner is kind of like a gay superhero. By day, he trudges along at his job writing medical grants, but at night he twirls out of those working-man clothes to battle gay stereotypes with his all-mighty super power: tank tops!
But unlike most caped and masked crusaders who keep their gifts to themselves, this scruffy babe is looking to share his with the masses via his new queer-design project, OUTspoken. The venture grew out of his curiosity about “the words people use to pigeon-hole gay men” — from the hate-monger-derived “faggot” or “pansy” to the words gay people use to define one another, like “bear” or “twink.”
In an attempt to re-appropriate the labels, Miner and graphic artist Joe Sinness worked together to create illustrations inspired by the history and mythology of the terms. When they came up with sketches they liked, they slapped those bad boys on some heather-grey tank tops and, voila!, OUTspoken was born. “Gay men are forced to struggle with these words from the time we are bullied in schools [through] adulthood,” says Miner. “These shirts give [them] the opportunity to own and de-stigmatize these words, while showing gay youth that there is nothing wrong with being gay.”
For now, only three designs are available — “The Other ‘F’ Bomb,” “Gym Bunny” and “Pillow Biter” — but Miner is hoping to branch out with the help of funds generated through Kickstarter. “If [that] is successful, the line will expand to include other apparel options, housewares and … a coffee-table book,” he says. The funding goal for the project is $13,200, and so far they’ve only raised $1,752.
A lack of funds is like kryptonite for Miner. Want to help him out? Those that pledge $40 will receive a tank of their choice, a post card of each print and the chance to not only fight stereotypes but turn all the boys in the Gayborhood red with envy by sporting a tanky that didn’t come straight from American Apparel. Now that’s what I call power.
Click here to check out the OUTspoken Kickstarter page, where you’ll find a video of Miner and images of the other two tank top firstname.lastname@example.org.