Bar faces backlash for selling t-shirts inciting homophobic violence

The Eagle’s Nest is facing backlash from LGBTQ+ advocacy groups as well as politicians.

The Eagles Nest, a bar in Wyoming which under fire for selling homophobic t-shirts, is pictured in front of a cloudy blue sky

A Wyoming bar is facing backlash after selling t-shirts advocating for homophobic violence. The Eagle’s Nest sold t-shirts featuring a man with a pistol and the words “In Wyoming, we have a cure for AIDS, we shoot f****n’ f****ts.” 

The Eagle’s Nest, which is popular among motorcyclists in Cheyenne, the state’s capital, originally sold out of the shirts. The businesses owner, Ray Bereziuk, told The Cheyenne Post that he didn’t intend to restock the shirts, adding that he’s “in the bar business, not the apparel business.”

The bar is located less than an hour from where gay college student Matthew Shepard died after being brutally beaten in 1998. So far, no apology has been issued by the Eagle’s Nest.

Scott Cheney, president of the board of directors at Wyoming AIDS Assistance, made a statement about the bar selling homophobic t-shirts: “I’d like to think I’m a pretty resilient person, but to see this in a state that I love so much, it made me want to cry.”

Wyoming Equality, a non profit LGBTQ+ advocacy organisation, shared a photo of one of the shirts on Facebook. Posted before the shirts sold out, the post said that the group “failed to convince a local bar to pull these shirts from circulation.” 

“We hoped that they would choose to stop selling them when they realised the harm it did to the LGBTQ community and those living with AIDS.” 

Wyoming Equality director Sara Burlingame posted to her own social media account, saying, “Want to make it unpopular to be a bigot? Donate to Wyoming Equality or Wyoming AIDS Assistance. Put a Pride flag up in your business or home. Wear one of our cool AF shirts. 

“Pass a Hate Crime bill. Invest in queer joy and resilience. Let the haters hate in their own misery. Keep Wyoming queer and wild.”

Wyoming is one of four states in the US not to have any hate crime laws. Republican Governor Mark Gordon said he was disheartened to hear about the hateful message on the shirts. “This hurtful rhetoric is not reflective of our state’s values, and does nothing but promote hate and division.”

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