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T-Shirt - 'Equal Love', 1 Aug 2009 Object Reg. No: HT 29773

Summary:
White t-shirt printed with heart motif inscribed 'EQUAL LOVE' and two pairs of swallows. Made for the National Day of Action for Same-Sex Marriage on 1 August 2009. Part of the Equal Love campaign for marriage law reform run by the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby. The goal of Equal Love is the repeal of the Australian ban on same-sex marriage formalized by the Howard federal government in 2004.

The t-shirt was designed by Adrian Harris from an idea by Meighen Katz. The final product was black on white except for the heart, which was red (as in this example). The t-shirts were sold for $20 at events and at the Victorian National Day of Action, culminating in a rally at Federation Square.

The Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby states that:

'Equal Love aims to inform the community of the emotional, social and financial cost which results from the lack of same-sex relationship recognition. And to educate the community about the importance of formal legal recognition of same-sex couples, and advocate for change.' The Lobby seeks to reform federal, Victorian and local law. Regarding federal law, it focuses on the right of same sex couples to access marriage, the equal recognition of same sex domestic and de facto partnerships under law, the consideration of a civil union and relationship registration scheme as an alternative to same-sex marriage, and recognition of foreign marriages and civil unions between same-sex couples. Regarding Victorian law, the Lobby seeks to extend domestic partnership laws to include parenting rights and remove discrimination and the consideration of a civil union and relationship registration scheme. Regarding local law, it seeks a relationship registration scheme for same-sex couples recognized by local councils.

The City of Melbourne launched its Relationship Declaration Register on 2 April 2007, providing the means for both mixed-sex and same-sex couples to formally declare their relationships.
Description:
White t-shirt with printing on front only. Front features a red heart with floral detail behind, overlaid with banner inscribed 'EQUAL LOVE'. A pair of while swallows fly above; a pair of black swallows fly below. Extended text in black appears further down front. No printing on back. Two labels sewn into collar. Appears unworn. Brown discolouration on back of proper left sleeve; small spot of ink on front of same.
Statement Of Significance:
Part of a Museum Victoria collection documenting the material culture of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities in Victoria. In 2005 the Museum joined with the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives and the State Library of Victoria to conduct a survey of GLBT material culture in public and private collections in Victoria. (Refer Kate Davison (2006), Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender Material Survey: Project Report 2006.) The report identified the need for major institutions to build their collections of GLBT material, providing better representation in Victorian museums and libraries and improving engagement with diverse communities.

T-shirts like these are commonly distributed by lobby groups organising marches, blockades and other public campaigns relating to legislation, Government policy or community attitudes. They often specific advertise days of protest or events, and are sometimes supplemented by badges, posters, postcards and banners. They provide a material record of activity that is largely intangible and ephemeral, conducted in meeting rooms, on the streets and in on-line networking sites.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Meighen Katz, 2009
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 760 mm (Height), 910 mm (Width)
Dimension Comment: Height is collar to bottom hem; width is cuff to cuff. Size between underarms: 530

More information

Tagged with: marriage customs rites, political protests, lesbian gay, political rallies, making history - gay lesbian collection
Themes this item is part of: Cultural Diversity Collection, Public Life & Institutions Collection
Primary Classification: POLITICS & PUBLIC PROTEST
Secondary Classification: Sexual Politics
Inscriptions: Text printed on front of t-shirt, on graphic: 'EQUAL LOVE'. Further down front: '1 AUGUST 2009 / NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION / FOR SAME-SEX MARRIAGE / WWW.EQUAL.OVE.INFO'.

Printed on first of two labels inside collar: 'GILDAN / Ultra Cotton' and on reverse text includes 'Imported into Mexico by/...Gildan Activewear Mexico S.A. de C.V'. Second label text includes '100% PURE COTTON / Made in Haiti'. Washing instructions on reverse.
Date Inscribed: Australia, 1 Aug 2009
Designer: Adrian Harris
Place Made: Haiti
Place Named: Mexico
Other Association (See Comments): Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Place the t-shirt was made to be sold and worn.
References: Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby web site http://www.vglrl.org.au/campaigns/equal-love/index.php, accessed 20/9/2011

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