Have y’all read the headlines lately?
Or have you had your Facebook news feeds inundated by gay marriage ads, the first lesbian couple to marry with Mickey and Goofy as witnesses, and young LGBT’s bringing class action lawsuits against their bigot-run schools?
Good. That means you’re supposed to be my Facebook friend.
Because those stories may mean that, sooner than many of us think, the large-scale disenfranchisement of LGBT’s nationwide will become a smarting blemish on our country’s history of civil rights violations.
(And yes, let’s go ahead and make that clear: LGBT inequality is a civil rights issue.
Don’t get me started about what skin color someone has to have to qualify as experiencing civil rights violations. LGBT’s experiencing inequality aren’t trying to uproot and appropriate the 60’s. Meaningful, long overdue strides were made then by incredibly talented, headstrong, and historically revered leaders; and they, and their cohorts, should be honored accordingly and their work appreciated.
LGBT’s have long endured inhuman equations to the lowest form of humanity. Whether starved and worked to death inside barbed-wire fences, dragged behind cars and lit ablaze, or tied to fence posts and left to die, LGBT’s have a history of having hate-centered violence directed at them.
So, let’s all stop the minority in-fighting and agree that hatred directed at anyone is wrong.
And anyone who stands against it is a pioneer in their own right.
Tangential rant over.)
With every new ad campaign, every high-profile celebrity that comes out or speaks out as an ally, every corporation that backs all of their employees, we all come a few steps closer to equality.
It won’t happen overnight, but it’s happening little by little.
But with so much happening so quickly, I’m left to wonder why.
Is it because people are starting to see the light?
Is it because it’s trendy to back LGBT rights?
Is it because LGBT’s are pretty people?
Is it because it’s sexy to feature LGBT’s in ads?
In some ways, I think it’s a little bit of everything blended together.
Still, I think it’s odd that the sex-bent (ba dah bah!) ads are geared more to gay men than the rest of the LGBT community.
I know, I know.
Every advertising executive would respond with the whole “Not every ad can cater to every identity group.”
But I think corporations should try to diversify their LGBT ads.
Because, even now, much of mainstream society is getting many stereotypes reified with every hot, muscly gay couple happily traipsing down some exotic beach to a chuppah.
Not all gays are like that.
We don’t all shave our chests, have tons of money, work out non-stop, or eat 300 calories a day. I’m not trying to sound bitter–really, this time–because I know many gays who juggle crazy lives and have chiseled physiques; I’m just not one of them.
So, again, why the gay men?
In some ways, I think it comes down to some advertising-centric, decided on sexiness factor.
Because what sells ads?
Teddy bears and roses?
But two muscle bears holding bouquets over their junk, the tagline reading, “Two bouquets for the price of one! He’ll be beary happy you did!”?
For whatever reason, two men together ooze bizarre degrees of sexiness to some heterosexual demographics. Meaning: tweens staring at ripped abs (wishing their boyfriends had those, while said boyfriends are secretly wishing they had those, because then–then!–they might get to second base, whatever that is these days); and closeted men staring at those bouquets.
But, again, the proverbial WHY? of it all. Why would two guys be the most marketable of LGBT’s?
I think it’s because more heteros understand the mechanics of gay male sex.
Even if they think it’s ewwww, gross!
Even if they have problematic, subversively misogynistic thoughts like, “So, who’s the woman in all that?” (Clue: It’s two men. It’s nothing like heterosexual sex.) Or, secretly, “I bet they get less teeth.” (We do.)
So, while the Culture Industry is making a buck off your gay boyfriend’s abs, and letting those questioning kids know that they’re not alone, I’m still standing there watching it all unfold, wondering, “Who’s the next target?”
But let’s be realistic.
Because when the whole taboo against discussing LGBT issues–sex, love, civil rights protections, adoption–falls by the wayside and becomes less edgy, some other minority has to get thrown under the Not-So-Magic American Disenfranchisement School Bus. (Which I imagine being driven by an amalgamation of DuhW and Pat Robertson with Ms. Frizzle’s hair.)
My hope is that once LGBT rights are more commonplace than not, not only will there be a little less hatred and misinformation floating around out there, but nationwide LGBT equality will be one of the last civil rights hurdles our country has to clear before getting with the program, catching up with progressive nations, and realizing how ass-backwards we’ve been for far too long.
Because, personally, I’d love to live in a nation where a billboard featuring a gay male couple is looked at as just that–a piece of wood sporting those sporting wood, rather than another attempt by the wicked gays to lead The Children into fiery damnation.
I guess I’m just waiting for gay male sexiness to have less of a charged air about it than it does now. (Maybe then Andy and I can be in a gay-centric toothpaste ad, like a friend suggested after I posted this photo from last year’s NC Pride.)
That, and for more representative LGBT imagery in the media.
Whenever that happens, I’ll welcome the chance to pass the goth hipsters of the future–wearing those oh-so-alternative 2000’s fashions and ruminating about Life and Death.
Especially when they pass a few old gays at a bistro table, roll their eyes, and mutter in their misunderstood way, “That whole being gay thing is so passé.”