No on Prop 8 advertising: Where my gays at?
Bear with me here - I know a bunch of you will jump down my throat, but can I just ask a really simple question: where are the gays in the No on Prop 8 advertising?
I'll tell you where: the closet.
Now, I "know" why. God forbid any mainstream advertising supporting equal rights actually feature the people they are supporting. It's too risky. Leave it to the other side to give air time to actual homosexuals.
This glaring absence didn't occur to me until I heard Gavin Newsom, San Francisco's incredibly gutsy, smart, and hot mayor, voicing his frustration with how the Democratic party as a whole keeps gay rights at arm's length. He said that were this any other civil rights issue - women's rights, minorities, whathaveyou - the party would have embraced the cause and ditched the tiptoe dance it does around the topic long ago.
And then I had my Oprah moment: indeed, were this an issue about any other "disenfranchised" group, we'd have been inundated with images of the very people who need our support. There would be stories aplenty in order to connect the cause to actual living, breathing people.
But on the Prop 8 battleground, there are no faces, no stories about who will be affected should Prop 8 pass. Instead Prop 8's opponents have depersonalized the fight, relying on voters' innate sense of fairness to respond to the argument that Prop 8 takes rights away. Away from whom? Well, gays of course...vague, non-offensive gays that you don't need to worry yourself about. No need to show any...just picture the one or two that you know...
Should No on Prop 8 advertising - the mainstream, primetime adverstising is what I'm talking about here - should it show the gay couples whose rights we are talking about? I don't know. There's no easy answer. I know what's at risk. But it does seem somewhat disingenous for our community to be fighting for what we are calling a "fundamental right" while standing behind an army of straight people.
I may be wrong, but I would suspect that campaigns supporting civil rights for other groups generally featured images of the people whose rights were being debated. But because what "separates" us is our sexuality, as opposed to our skin color, physical ability or gender, we as individuals aren't immediately identified with our cause. So the question is, if we want to be considered equal in every way, when will we stop self-censoring? Just because we can doesn't mean we should.
By not owning our right to get married and giving a voice to the potential victims of Prop 8, it's almost an admission that yes, gay weddings are a little weird, and the world isn't quite ready for them. (Frankly, I'm surprised the other side hasn't gotten their hands on footage from some totally over-the-top gay wedding and weaved that into their propaganda.) So we risk Prop 8 passing - would it be worth it to have shown a little balls in the fight?
(Images courtesy of Getty)