Be Careful What You Wish For: Gays, Dueling High School T-Shirts, and the Perils of Suppression
Michael Kent Curtis
Wake Forest University - School of Law
May 7, 2009
Wake Forest Law Review, Forthcoming
Wake Forest Univ. Legal Studies Paper No. 1400822
“Be Careful What You Wish For: Gays, Dueling High School T-Shirts, and the Perils of Suppression,” 44 Wake Forest L. Rev. (forthcoming 2009) focuses on the discussion by high school students of the acceptability of homosexuality or tolerance of homosexuality and the contrasting view that homosexuality is sinful, shameful, and unacceptable — as conducted in the medium of messages on student t-shirts. It examines the controversy in light of student free speech rights and the interest in equality. The article concludes that simply suppressing the “homosexuality is shameful” t-shirts while allowing “its o.k. to be gay” t-shirts raises serious free speech issues (though not ones all courts have found insurmountable) and may well produce suppression of the shirts calling for tolerance and acceptance. Paradoxically, demands for suppression of just the “homosexuality is shameful” messages raise serious problems of practical wisdom for those who support gay equality. In light of the paradoxical nature of the problem, the article suggests reframing the issue and seeking an alternative way to address the concerns raised by dueling t-shirts.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 62Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: May 7, 2009
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