The first t-shirt produced by the Fort Worth-based startup business Touch My Tees is sooo gay. And they’re very proud of it. Their “Gay DNA” shirt features a design of a DNA sequence data strip in which the letters “g-a-y” are highlighted. The motto “It’s In Your DNA” appears above it in rainbow colors. The message? People are born gay, it’s a simple fact of science and nature, so can we stop with all the anti-gay b.s.?
Four friends formed Touch My Tees as a fledgling side business, but only one of them is gay — Jeni Thomas. She also designed the “Gay DNA” shirt with fellow TMT-er Nicole Phillips based on their experiences working at a DNA forensics lab.
“One day we were reading a sequence and came across the letters ‘g-a-y’ in a row,” said Thomas. “That doesn’t happen very often. We joked that we’d found ‘the gay gene’” – which, as she notes, is still hypothetical in research circles. “We did a high resolution mockup of the sequence and everybody loved it. So we decided to put it on a t-shirt.”
Last Sunday at Dallas’s gay pride activities in the Oak Lawn neighborhood, Thomas and Phillips walked around wearing the “Gay DNA” shirt to gauge people’s interest. The response was overwhelmingly positive — they handed out more than 500 business cards and sold about 20 shirts. For Fort Worth’s upcoming gay pride weekend on October 1 and 2, the two will either set up a vendor table or just work the parade and the picnic, handing out cards and selling shirts.
As for the future of Touch My Tees, Thomas said the quartet has discussed working with local artists to create more shirt designs. Although the company doesn’t specialize in gay pride messages, the success of the “Gay DNA” shirt will help them decide what to do next. “We’ll see where it goes from here,” she said.