OK – so this post is probably NOT gonna’ win me a lot of fans but I feel obliged to write it…
To ALL my LGBT brothers and sisters – PLEASE get serious about demanding marriage equality. And PLEASE begin by, literally, getting serious…
I am partners in a small business – not bragging here, just being honest. So I like to think I have some idea of how promotion and “branding” work to make my business successful. The same ideas must apply to social change, correct? Anyhow, here’s what has been driving me INSANE for the past 24 hours…
As any LGBT activist knows, The Supreme Court of The United States (SCOTUS) began hearing oral arguments yesterday regarding DOMA reform and Prop 8 out of California. Needless to say, this is a significant moment in the evolution of LGBT rights. I mean, we are finally poised on the brink of having our relationships validated and recognized by the federal government, if all goes as I – and millions and millions of other LGBT citizens, both here and abroad – hope. So, as a sort of visual “rallying cry,” the good folks over at The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) modified their standard equal sign logo to a red version:
and asked everyone to post this as their profile image on any social media site, to get the word out/show that they personally supported marriage equality. Great, right? From a business and branding perspective, this was BRILLIANT! Here was a well-recognized symbol (the HRC logo) personalized for a specific, historic moment in time. This symbol would definitely galvanize the troops and get everyone together. The red color? Whether it symbolizes true love, passion about equality or anger over the injustice of the federal government’s denial to America’s gay and lesbian married couples of the 1,138 rights granted to heterosexual couples by marriage – whatever the reason it was red – the logo was fantastic! “Kudos” to the graphics team at HRC. Here was an image that would represent how seriously we all desired marriage equality and how committed we (LGBT American citizens) were to attaining it. Again, from a branding perspective, A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Then, about three/four hours after The Supreme Court began hearing testimony, the whole thing derailed (again, from a business perspective). These began appearing all over the internet –
First, the white slash version:
Not sure why the image changed but, as I was wondering, the “Twin Rings” began appearing:
OK, not too bad – at least the rings echoed the original intent and message of the original logo. Still, the message started to degrade a bit. Then I saw this one – the “True Blood” version:
This vampire version makes all LGBT-er’s look like “Marriage Equality Twi-Hards” but I think maybe the “bacon version” is even worse:
I mean, sure, bacon is the “it” food of the moment but does it have anything to do with the passionate pursuit of equality? I think not. And I haven’t even shared the matzoh version or the version with wiener dogs. However, all those images aside, it got worse. Someone had to create this image:
As always, we have to take any LGBT issue to some sort of graphic sexual place, as if THAT is what we are all fighting for. Really – why DOES any gay- or lesbian-related issue ALWAYS seem to come down to sex? Honestly, the word “sex” has such a negative connotation to the vast majority of people and then to combine it with “same,” as in same-sex marriage well, a lot of straight people just “Ewwww!” and shut down. Two guys or two girls “getting it on” maybe still creep them out (a bit). But this image took the prize for me:
For the uninformed, this feline is internet sensation Grumpy Cat, famous for always saying “NO” to everything. Again, I get it – it MUST be “right” if Grumpy Cat says “Yes.” I personally LOVE LOVE LOVE Grumpy Cat – but now, an image that started as a symbol of a committed, galvanized effort to bestow marriage equality to America’s LGBT citizens had been downgraded to a funny meme.
To all my amazing LGBT brethren and all our amazing, supportive straight allies, PLEASE, I beg you: get serious about marriage equality. Unify and appear prepared to do the work it takes to make marriage equality a reality in America. PLEASE refrain from making our movement a viral joke…
Listen, I am not some huge Debbie Downer, or a boohoo-er, or some bitter old curmudgeon. I am just a gay guy that wants the best not only for me and my partner/our relationship but for each of you as well. We CAN do this if we all get serious about this issue.
Please don’t hate me – think about what I have suggested. I think you will agree that we need to buckle down and keep our poker faces on as we enter this high-stakes game. Thanks!