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Lesbian Forced To Turn Pro-Gay Marriage Shirt Inside-Out At DollyWood

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Something stinks at Splash Country.

Someone get Miss Dolly Parton on the batphone STAT. Homegirl would NOT allow this anti-gay malarkey anywhere with her name on the door. Even if the Don’t Say Gay Bill has provoked a war on LGBT Tennessee residents.

We’ve reprinted a letter from a lesbian woman who was discriminated against at Dolly Parton’s Splash Country theme park below. The letter has been making the rounds on Facebook all morning, so we’re hoping Olivier doesn’t mind us shining our spotlight on her story as well.

Olivier M Odom

Knoxville, TN

July 19, 2011

Dollywood’s Splash Country

To Whom It May Concern:

On July 9, 2011 my wife and I took our friend’s two daughters, ages five and eight, to visit your water park.  Before entering the park, a Splash Country employee who was accepting tickets informed me that I would have to turn my t-shirt inside out because, he said: “This is a family park.”  My t-shirt read: “Marriage is so gay.”  What is not family-values about promoting marriage?

Not wanting to cause a scene in front of the girls and ruin their trip, I complied with your employee’s request and had the necessary conversation with the two girls that the man was discriminating against me because I believe in allowing gay people the right to marry.  I regret that, in my shock and disbelief, I did not get the employee’s name.

I was and still am greatly offended by the public discrimination that I experienced on July 9, 2011 at your park.  I felt discriminated against based on my sexual orientation and my viewpoint.  Not only did it make me angry, but I felt violated and saddened.  I truly hope that it is not the policy of Dollywood’s Splash Country to discriminate against the LGBT community.

I do not feel that your company has the right to restrict the freedom of speech of its patrons. My shirt (image enclosed) was a political statement of equality.  It seems that any employee with a personal prejudice can impart that opinion on any visitor, and therefore discriminate based on their own beliefs.

To ensure that your customers are not treated this way in the future, I would like to see Dollywood:  implement policies that are inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people; conduct staff sensitivity training; and issue a public statement indicating that the park is inclusive of all families.  Please contact me at the e-mail above by August 15, 2011 to confirm your course of action.


Olivier M Odom


Surely we can expect a statement from Dolly shortly. Please?

  • Anonymous

    Dolly Parton does not own Splash Country or Dollywood. It is owned and operated by  Herschend Family Entertainment

  • ShowMeGuy

    Correct….a PRIVATELY……owned company….owned by a family which has Christianity at the forefront of their family mission statement.   I worked for the company from 1989-1994 and I have seen a wide variety of t-shirts get turned inside out…from beer company shirts with half naked women pictured to skeletons shown in several sexual positions, to nazi and KKK propaganda.

    The statement **that’s so gay** is viewed as being offensive by more and more people.  Someone outside the gay community…..let’s be fair…..could take *marriage is so gay* as something along the same flavor as *that’s so gay*.

  • She’s overreacting. Disneyland makes people turn their shirts inside out all the time. My friend was wearing a shirt with headphones and a vaguely trippy design on it, and he had to turn it inside out because it was “drug-related”.

  • Anonymous

    I have to say, I’m not entirely unsympathetic to the theme park here. The shirt is a little non-family-friendly in that it uses a common vulgar slur. It of course uses it in a humorous way to make a political point, but it is still a slur on a T-shirt. If it were “The Yankees are so gay” I assume you would have no problem having it turned inside out. 

    If she goes there wearing an HRC shirt or something equally innocuous and they make her turn it inside out, hey, I’ll march on Dollywood tomorrow. But as it is I’m just not sure this is really something to get up in arms over. 

  • Theo J. Williams

    The complainant’s irritation at the Dollywood staffer is purely understandable. Whether Ms. Parton herself can do anything in the matter is open to question: she may not own either Dollywood or Splash Country, but she certainly has an interest in actions essentially being taken in her name (or perceived as such). It’ll be interesting indeed to see how this plays out.

  • a person should be able to wear whatever they choose to wear period no one has the right to refuse you entry because they dislike a phrase or logo you have on your clothing or accessories i would suggest a law suit

  • Anonymous

    So, in other words, anyone can go anywhere they want and wear a t-shirt that says “F… You” on it and that would be perfectly okay?  I don’t think so.  There has to be a line drawn somewhere.  I have no problem being around gay people, but this “in your face” attitude is a little much at times.  Would you like it if someone wore a t-shirt that said “Death to all gays” or “Death to Christians” or “Jews Eat Christian Babies?”

    DollyWood is a private business and, as such, should have the right to require appropriate dress, just as some restaurants won’t let you in without a tie.  Our free enterprise system is set up so that customers can decide if they like a business or not.  If they don’t, they don’t have to go there.

  • Anonymous

    Dolly should fire that employee for what, they did to Olivier M Odom that day when he attended the park

  • Jeremy Cantrell

    i agree the line has to be drawn, but i don’t see what was wrong with her t- shirt. it had no profanity, and merely endorsed equality. also this “in your face attitude” as you call it is merely being open and honest about who we are.