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"Sea Level is For Sissies" slogan is offensive and Bolder Boulder should drop it, petition says

A graphic used on Out Boulder's Change.org petition.
A graphic used on Out Boulder's Change.org petition.

For years, the Bolder Boulder, which takes place this year on May 26, has used the slogan "Sea Level is For Sissies." There's even a separate tab for "Sea Level Is for Sissies" merchandise on the race's website.

But now, Out Boulder, one of the community's most prominent LGBTQ advocacy organizations, has launched a petition asking race organizers to drop the slogan under the argument that it's demeaning and offensive.

The effort was inspired by an April 21 letter to the Boulder Daily Camera by Debbie Ramirez, who wrote after receiving an e-mail pitch from Bolder Boulder to purchase "Sea Level is for Sissies" gear.

A look at one of the "Sea Level is For Sissies" shirts for sale on the Bolder Boulder website.
A look at one of the "Sea Level is For Sissies" shirts for sale on the Bolder Boulder website.

Here's an excerpt from her missive:

People say "you're a sissy" to put them down. The word is used to put down traits that are problematically and stereotypically associated with women. Traits that all genders have but are not valued because they are associated with women.

I am a women who runs, rock climbs and performs well athletically. I also have the traits associated with someone who is called a sissy. I cry, I get hurt and I express my emotions. If this is what a sissy is, I am proud to be a sissy and would never wear a T-shirt that does not value these traits in all genders.

Out Boulder executive director Mardi Moore quotes Ramirez's words in the summary of a just-launched Change.org petition. She adds, "It's past due that the Bolder Boulder retire this slogan. Make your voice heard and sign this petition today!"

The petition encourages signers to send Bolder Boulder a letter simply stating, "Stop using the slogan 'Sea Level is for Sissies'!"

At this writing, just over sixty people have signed the petition. Here's a sampling of the comments they've made:

The word "sissy" insults women and gay people, just as "kike" insults Jews and "wetback" insults Mexico. Time to move into the 21st century: say good-bye to Sissie.

Language matters! Boulder of all places should be leading the way, not stuck in the past.

I have always felt that was a demeaning slogan and I am glad someone has taken a stand. I have run in 20+ Bolder Boulders and you will never see me again if you don't stop using that slogan.

Apparently, this last writer will be sitting out the 2014 edition of the race -- at least judging by comments from Bolder Boulder race director Cliff Bosley in a Daily Camera interview. He cites a discussion three years ago with a previous Out Boulder director in which the two sides "came to an understanding" that the slogan wasn't intended to put anyone down.

Bosley states categorically that the slogan will not be retired.

To access the petition, click here.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Sports archive circa May 2010: "Bolder Boulder: Baby-wearing moms and dads to walk six miles with Junior strapped on."


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