Luckily, many of us overcame (or are in the process of getting over) the shame of growing up gay.
There’s so much self loathing and shaming going on all over that Unapologaytic tries to use humour and irony to celebrate Gay Men and Gay Culture.
My name is Pierre Monnerville. I am a French black gay man. I don’t know which of the black or gay is more obvious but they’re equally strong parts of my identity.
When I was a growing up in the French Caribbean, a small part of my family was ashamed to be black and spent their lives trying to prove they were or could do as well as or better than the whites. During a heated argument, my godmother even angrily reproached her husband for being ‘too black’. On the other hand, I’m grateful I was brought up by people who had nothing to prove to anyone. During my early teens, dark-skinned and coarse-haired people were routinely mocked, implying they were not as good looking as the ones with lighter complexion. Just like camp shaming and the guys who proudly brand themselves ‘straight acting’ only show internalised homophobia.
I was never bullied for being dark. That’s probably because some people preferred teasing me for being gay... Please note I’m using the word teasing rather than bullying. I teased as much as I was teased and don’t feel like a victim of bullying at all, but I digress.
I’m not claiming any universal truth at all, but by and large, I experience ethnicity and sexual orientation in a similar way. Probably because as a black man in the UK and Europe in general, I’m obviously part of a minority. I don’t think I need to go over LGBTQI as a minority… The similarity I see is the way some individuals in minorities tend to not only internalise and assimilate but reproduce some oppressing patterns. I don't mean to state the obvious, but as far as I’m concerned, there’s no hierarchy whatsoever in terms of shades of masculinity, ethnicity or skin colour.
One more thing. It's important to be grateful to be able to express ourselves so freely when this venture would definitely be forbidden in certain countries and so many people are harassed and still tortured for their sexual orientation.
Now this is settled, a little word about the brand itself. Unapologaytic is based in Brighton, the UK's gay headquarters. We use the latest technology and organic cotton for our T-shirts to only print your garment when you place an order. This minimises wastage and allows us to offer you a wider range of products from t-shirts to embroidered polo shirts, phone cases, greetings cards and even mugs.
Our designs are printed in Northern England on garments made by Earth Positive, Continental Clothing and Stanley/Stella, all members of the Fair Wear Foundation. Its mission is to improve labour conditions for the hundreds of thousands of workers involved making clothes for FWF member companies.
The great thing about FWF is that they're not business-friendly and enforce the following labour practices:
- No forced labour
- No discrimination in employment
- No child labour
- Freedom of association and right to collective bargaining
- Payment of living wage
- No excessive working hours
- Safe and healthy working conditions
- Legally binding employment relationship
Learn more about FWF efforts at fairwear.org.
We print with eco-friendly inks which means:
- No toxins in the ink
- No animal by-products used to create the ink
- Safe for use on products for both adults and children
- OEKO-TEX® certified
Furthermore, all our garments are made with renewable energy and the mailing bags we use are biodegradable.
I spent a lot of time alone as a child. Music always offered me escapism as I dreamt of better days… I'd like to share with you some of the songs that helped and inspired me then and now.