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“Gay Interest” Christmas T-shirts mistakenly banned by eBay

By Chris Dawson November 7, 2013 - 12:13 am

Gay Interest SnowmaneBay have apparently cancelled a load of fairly innocuous listings for Christmas themed clothing because the listings had the words “Gay Interest” in the item titles. eBay assured the seller that they had no problem with the actual items (e.g. a Rudolph wearing a rainbow scarf), but that saying they were of gay or lesbian interest breaches . (This appears to have been a mistake – see ‘edited to add’ comment from eBay below)

eBay told the seller that they’re cracking down on on such terms saying “There has been a trend of adult or fetish themed used clothing items being listed on the site; these items are not a positive reflection on eBay or our member community“. They added “I’d request you to avoid words like “Gay Interest, Scally” in your listings. You item is perfectly fine, you may relist it without such words in your listing“.

Gay Interest RudolphThis creates a bit of a dilemma, on the one hand eBay don’t have an adult category in the UK (they do on eBay.com), but for many years all sorts of items from gimp masks to bondage gear have been sold and still are sold on eBay UK anyway. Apparently that’s fine, but not if they’re of gay or lesbian interest and definitely not if it’s as innocent as a t-shirt.

Now that now eBay appear to be tightening up on the use of the words “Gay interest” (or other similar terms), how will gay, lesbian, bi and transgender people find the items that they’re looking for? If you particularly want a gay interest Christmas t-shirt surely that is what you’d expect to search for? If sellers can’t include those key words you’ll probably assume there are none for sale. The presumption is that “gay interest” describes predominantly sexual or adult items. And that clearly is not and accurate assumption.

It’s not even that eBay don’t want the items sold, if you’re searching for a Christmas t-shirt you may well see gay interest shirts in your search results so the items themselves will still be seen. You just won’t be able to specifically search for gay interest items if that’s what you want.

If you are in the market for a gay interest Christmas t-shirt or sweater we suggest you visit the Pretty Pink Pearl website direct, they’ve got them in stock ready to sell. I’m not gay, but I’m tempted to buy one just because they’re cute!

Edited to add: eBay have been in touch and thankfully it’s all a mistake. They told us:

eBay is a marketplace for everyone and we would never want to discriminate against any customer.

To keep eBay a great place to shop, our listings have to follow certain rules and accurately describe the item for sale.

We welcome listings using ‘gay’ as a factual item description, for example ‘gay literature’ or an item with a gay character.

We don’t allow use of the term ‘gay’ as a marketing term to imply a sexual aspect to an item, and this listing was mistakenly identified as such by our system. We will contact the seller to put it right.

  • 4 years ago

    Am I missing something here but why is a rainbow scarf classed as gay interest ?
    I think they are using the word “Gay” in loose terms here, a marketing ploy, a bit like “Rare” when it comes to items that ain’t rare.
    I got a multi colored rainbow sweater I want to sell,never would I put gay interest in the title

    • 4 years ago

      The world’s best-known version of the rainbow flag, sometimes called ‘the freedom flag’, was popularized as a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride and diversity by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker in 1978. The different colors symbolize diversity in the gay community, and the flag is used predominantly at gay pride events and in gay villages worldwide in various forms including banners, clothing and jewelry. Wikipedia

      We use the gay flag as described above and translated it into a rainbow scarf. Not a marketing ploy but a genuine Gay interest!
      Thanks
      Teresa
      PrettyPinkPearl

    • 4 years ago

      Hi Teresa and welcome to Tamebay. So glad it’s all apparently been sorted for you :-)

    • 4 years ago

      Yes, the rainbow is very much an LGBT emblem… and we fly the rainbow flag from the town hall down here in Brighton for Pride and to celebrate civil partnerships too. It’s marvellous.

  • Gary
    4 years ago

    Why is a T shirt featuring a rainbow coloured scarf of “gay interest”. Am I missing something here?

    I would suggest that ebay should remove the listing on the grounds that the seller is stereotyping which does suggest some form of descrimination on the part of the seller.

    Really we need the thoughts on this from somebody with a gay orientation.

    • Daniel
      4 years ago

      As a gay individual, I take no offence to the item being listed as gay. In fact, I can see that being a perfectly valid item to be returned in a search result if I were looking for a “gay snowman top”.

      Good on eBay for doing their best to ensure suspected offensive items are removed and also good on them for allowing them to be re-listed when it was brought to their attention.

      No harm, no foul, everyone’s just trying to do what’s best.

  • Gary
    4 years ago

    The other issue with this is that has the seller been investigated to see if they are placing duplicate listings?

    Selling identical goods with one listing marked up as “gay interest”, another marked up as “lesbian interest”, another marked up as “snowman spotter interest” and so on?

    Knowing ebay probably not!

    • 4 years ago

      Ha Ha Funny

      Yes snowman interest? Hadn’t thought of that one. We actually use the term Gay and Lesbian interest to describe all of the NEW items we list on eBay that are aimed at the Gay community because of the rainbow element celebrating gay diversity or because they depict a gay character or image. Hope that helps your limited understanding of the subject. I think it goes to show that there are many people out there who fail to understand the gay/lesbian minority and the stuff we have to put up with on a regular basis. Teresa
      prettypinkpearl

      PS I am a fully fledged card carrying lesbian too

  • northumbrian
    4 years ago

    noddy and big ears used to have gay days