What I wear

A very ‘Gay Red Shirt’

Definition of  GAY (via  Merriam-Webster)

a  :  happily excited,  merry  <in a  gay  mood>
b  :  keenly alive and exuberant  :  having or inducing high spirits  <a bird’s  gay  spring song>
a  :  bright,  lively  <gay  sunny meadows>
b  :  brilliant in color

Having embarked on knitwear, I’m having lots of fun making simple knit tops and mastering my knit techniques.

I’d already earmarked this awesome red fabric with widely spaced navy blue & white stripes for a simple boat-necked T when  NZ’s Prime Minister stuck his foot in his mouth  and told someone they’d never make it because they were wearing ‘a gay red shirt’.  Wow.  Thanks John Key.

Whatever your feelings on homosexuality, using personal descriptors as insults is  NOT OK.

Everyone, up to and including Sir Ian McKellan, has come down on Mr Key for his comment.  He tried to defend himself by saying he heard his kids say it, and thought it meant ‘weird’.  I don’t think he’s helping his case at all.

Someone decreed Friday the 9th of October as ‘Gay Red Shirt Day’ as a protest against his insult, and hey, I’d just finished this and was planning to wear this  anyway.

I had an extremely gay time making my shirt  on Wednesday (it was so easy – and provided a fun alternative to following the US election), and wearing it on Friday to visit a friend and her four-year-old.  We gaily rambled along the beach, and spent a gay hour in the awesome neighborhood playground, going ’round & ’round on the octowobble, discovering that I am very bad at the ‘mouse house’ (like a hamster wheel for humans), and climbing to the top of the super slide and going down it over and over again.

I liked it so much I threw it in the wash that evening, hung it to dry over the dehumidifier, and wore it again on Sat.

In the afternoon Mr D and I went for an explore in the town belt with my camera.

It’s quite impossible to go on a ramble with me, especially in spring, without things getting very gay indeed.  I start bouncing along the trail and finding things and exclaiming over them “Ooooh…look!  Daisies!”  ”Oh, the first forget-me-nots of the year!  Aren’t they just darling?”, “A meadow!  With clover!  Lets go roll around in it!”, “Oooooh…honeysuckle!  Isn’t it just divine?”.  ”Oh look at that funny little shed with the graffiti!  Take a picture of me in front of it please!”

And I  skip.  And  frolic.

It’s quite ridiculous, and I just can’t help myself.

Oooh, speaking of getting excited, I really want to show you this picture:

It’s a terrible picture of me (what on earth am I doing with my hands?), but a great view of Wellington — and not the usual one you see on the tourist postcards.  Also, it’s full of glimpses of places where I’ve taken pictures.  The oval of grass on the far left is The Oval where I did the photoshoot for the  Win in Black & White jacket, and the red-shrouded tower that you can see behind it is the War Memorial Campanile, where we did the Grandma’s Blue Dress photoshoot.  The Campanile is right in front of the old Museum building where I did this photoshoot, and this photoshoot, and this photoshoot, and this talk.  Somewhere in the green hills right behind the Campanile is the valley from the  Rodeo & Wrangle outfit.  Wellington is such a photogenic little city!

To balance out the weird picture of me, here is my new favourite photo of me (even though the photo, and my shirt, make it clear that I have a little winter squidge to get rid of):

Just the facts, Ma’am:

Fabric:  90cm of mid-weight viscose jersey with added spandex, thrifted

Pattern:  3HoursPast’s Blank Canvas Tee, with a boatneck, and 8″ in length added so there would be a stripe at the hem.

Year:  2012

Notions:  Thread

And the insides?  Red, white & blue overlocking!

Hours:  2

First worn?:  Wed 7 November (US election day on the other side of the dateline) and then after a wash on Friday 9 November for GayRedShirt Day, and then  again  after a wash on Sat 10 Nov for a walk & photoshoot.

Wear again?:  Yes! in fact…

Make again?:  I think I’m going to have to, seeing as I’m tempted to wear it constantly!

Total cost:  $2


  1. Elise says

    facebook.comAnd for realz: As secretary for the first base-chartered LGBT group in the Air Force (Gay-Straight Alliance of Military at Kirtland/Albuquerque), and as co-author of an anti-suicide educational program, I thoroughly applaud you for speaking out on the use of ‘gay’ as a pejorative. THANK YOU on behalf of my friends.

    Still, Sunday was the Veterans Day Parade (I wore a poppy scarf). It is only the second Veterans Day that Gay and Lesbian servicemembers could march as themselves. It was cold cold cold, and it was up to me to rally the troops. I said “Let’s do this right! We GAY not grumpy! Now, smile and wave!” And we did.

    http://www.facebook.com/KirtlandGSA for pictures.

    (My adorable husband, going public about his support for Gay rights, is carried the American Flag. I fell in love even more!)

      • Elise says

        Thanks–sorry for the typos (can you tell working for equal rights is soooo important to me???) Thank you for the cheers–oh it feels good!

      • Elise says

        Good on YOU for being supporting! Besides, the gay coat made my poppy scarf stand out! (The closest thing I could get to poppies in the US)

    • Thank you!

      And thank you so much for your fantastic analysis of your extent 1870s dress and the skirt construction. I just love that you used such historical accuracy for a Steampunk dress!

      I’m sorry I can’t comment on the blog itself but I’m having trouble with both Google and OpenID sign-ins at the moment, so can only comment on blogs with open commenting 🙁

  2. Lynne says

    I quite agree with all you said about John Key – nicely put. And what a fine ‘gay red shirt’! I love the way you’ve used the wide stripes. Nice to know that you are still learning new sewing skills and techniques, too.

    • Elise says

      Absolutely! Nicely put!

      Thank you again for standing up and doing the right thing by denouncing his stupid put-down! Brava!

  3. Friday was my birthday and my daughter and I donned red shirts too. I was appalled by John Key’s comments, although they seem very in keeping with the blokey personna he wants to portray on radio. He is the Prime Minister for heaven’s sake. Is a little tact and decorum too much to ask?
    I love your red shirt, it’s adorable and… I know what you mean about the winter squidge. Got some of that myself!
    Love reading your blog up here in Auckland

    • Happy belated birthday! I know so many people who have birthday’s this time of year, and they are ALL awesome, so you are in good company! And yay for your red shirts!

      I know plenty of real blokes who do totally blokey stuff and who would NEVER use ‘gay’ or any other personal descriptor as an insult, and manage to be tactful and decorous. A Prime Minister should certainly be able to manage it. If aiming for the ‘salt of the earth’ was what Key was doing, he really failed in my books.

  4. I do wish the older (and still official) definition of the word “gay” were still acceptable for use. It’s such a fun word! But I can’t use it to mean merry or exuberant because everyone takes it wrong :/ (I love the shirt. It is lovely and becoming!)

    • Claire Payne says

      I use the word “gay” in every sense of it’s meaning. It is simply a matter of context (although I can’t say I have ever heard it used to mean ‘weird’). “Gay” is a very positive word in my mind, whether it is used to mean happy or bright or homosexual. The use of the word isn’t the issue here, it is all about the context and John Key used it in a derogatory manner so it wasn’t lighthearted.

    • Elise says

      It’s funny, because in French, you can still use the word ‘gai’ to mean bright and happy. I actually bought a very gai umbrella.

      But the word ‘gay’ means…well…gay-as-homosexual. Both are pronounced exactly the same, of course!

  5. Claire Payne says

    Having avoided the NZ media in order to escape the endless earthquake ‘news’ I had no idea that John Key had made this comment. He isn’t fit to be Prime Minister with an attitude like that. Thank you for wearing your gay red shirt and blogging about it too.

    • I tend to avoid the news too, but so many friends linked to this story on Facebook that I took notice. It’s really a shame that he thinks that kind of behavior is acceptable.

  6. Claire Payne says

    Having avoided the NZ media in order to escape the endless earthquake ‘news’ I had no idea that John Key had made this comment. He isn’t fit to be Prime Minister with an attitude like that. Thank you for wearing your gay red shirt and blogging about it too.

  7. StephC says

    This is so good, Leimomi. From start to finish, every word and smile and weird hand gesture. Looks fantastic! 🙂

    • Elise says

      It IS a very cute top! Lucky Leimomi–who can pull off orange-red! Looks great!

  8. I wish the word still held that original meaning. It sounds like its meaning. It is a happy word. I’m OK with it being used for sexual orientation as well-just with out it being used to imply a negative sentiment.

  9. I love that color on you! The top looks so comfortable and easy to wear. I’ve had a pattern and fabric to make a knit dress for the past few years but haven’t made it because I’m scared it will fall apart since I don’t have a serger for the edges…any suggestions of other edge treatments as you make your journey through knits?

    Also, thanks for helping put the word “gay” in its rightful context. It is a word for expressing joy and happiness, not for expressing intolerance and hate.

  10. Demented Seamstress says

    I’m quite shocked, when I read the title I thought it was a quote from back when “gay” meant happy, it sounds like something from an old book or movie. What a nasty thing for a Prime Minister to say.
    I hate it when people ruin perfectly good words by using them as insults.
    I know lots of guys who are gay and they’re all really lovely people, it’s so sad that people use the word “gay” in a derogatory way.

    Your red shirt is very happy and cheerful looking and I think “gay red shirt day” is a marvelous idea.

  11. I LOVE IT! I love the stripes, the length, and that delicious red color! You look marvelous, and I love the pictures of you with your magnificent home behind you 🙂

  12. That is a very gay red shirt indeed. I wish I’d known beforehand (you can’t know such things); I’d have worn mine. Not me-made… yours is better. I love that it’s particularly long to show the stripe! Also, boatnecks. and matching lipstick!

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