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Etsy Removes Apparel With Venus Symbol After Shop Is Reported By Trans Activists

Sarah Fields

Etsy has removed apparel featuring the Venus or “female” symbol after a shop was targeted for reporting by trans activists who deemed the logo offensive. The operator of Yolked Apparel, known pseudonymously as “Gary,” shared a screenshot of the violation notice from the e-commerce platform on social media this week, prompting calls for a boycott.

In the violation notice, Etsy claimed the t-shirt was “not in line with the prohibited items policy,” leading to the removal of the product from Etsy’s marketplace. The merchandise featured a simple rendition of the Venus logo with a fist in the center, a symbol often associated with pro-woman movements. In recent years, the imagery has been adopted by women who oppose gender ideology.

The design was first launched on October 29, with the store’s operator stating that all proceeds would be going to LGB Alliance, a non-profit charity focused on assisting lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals impacted by gender ideology.

Less than 24 hours later, “Gary” posted a screenshot of a notice he received from Etsy informing him the design would be removed as it violated their terms of service.

Speaking to The Publica, the Etsy shop’s operator explained that he had launched his storefront a few weeks after crafting some pro-woman designs. For the Venus logo, he collaborated with a female social media user by the name of “Kassia,” who would ultimately go on to choose where the proceeds would be donated.

“It all started a couple of weeks ago. I found out that I quite enjoyed designing t-shirts, so I thought I’d set up an Etsy shop. I’ve never met Kassia before, just put a tweet out saying I was starting a t-shirt store if anyone had any designs they’d like to see. Kassia replied saying she’s always wanted a t-shirt with the female symbol and a solidarity fist in the middle. She said she wanted a small logo on the chest and a big one on the back.”

He continued: “I thought it would be a great idea for a t-shirt and a great seller. When I created the design though, I had the thought that as a man it wasn’t right for me to be making money from a t-shirt with a feminist symbol on, being sold mainly to women. So before I put it on the store I asked Kassia which charity she’d like the profits to go to, so she chose LGB Alliance.”

On X (formerly Twitter), the post calling attention to the item’s ban gained widespread attention, with many quickly calling on Etsy to explain their decision.

“A female symbol t-shirt is a slap in the face to the jealous fetishist pervert men in dresses brigade. A symbol of everything they’ll never be. And they know it and they hate it,” one user said in response.

Professor Gary Francione, known for his role in the animal rights movement and the founder of the “Abolitionist Approach” organization, questioned Etsy’s move, asking why the platform was removing items that promote feminism while allowing the sale of items that explicitly promote trans activist violence against women.

“Gary” stated that he reached out to Etsy multiple times, demanding an explanation as to why the female symbol went against their policy. But rather than provide any clarifying information, Etsy simply sent him a final email that stated that their support agents could not reinstate the listing, and that their decision was final. 

This is not the first time Etsy has removed items at the apparent behest of trans activists.

As previously reported by The Publica, Etsy recently removed designs made by detransitioner and artist Laura Becker. Becker’s designs, many of which were critical of gender ideology, sought to raise awareness of the impact of gender ideology. At the time, Becker called for an Etsy boycott, warning others from using the platform.

In 2018, popular feminist artist Wild Womyn Workshop was also targeted and removed from Etsy after selling pins that promoted single-sex spaces. Etsy’s decision to remove “Wild Womyn Workshop” from its platform was met with widespread backlash, with critics arguing that the removal of a shop supporting detransitioners and women’s spaces was inconsistent with Etsy’s commitment to “freedom of expression and inclusivity”. 

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Sarah Fields

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