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February 07, 2008

Comments

cmulh22

How then, do you promote open-mindedness -- let people know that it is OK to be straight and supportive..... but you don't know all the LGBT lingo? If I had seen an = sticker or HRC - I don't know what that person is supporting. I know NOW but I am still not informing my peers with that sticker -- because THEY don't know -- can't exactly explain stickers to passers by.

I like the rainbow with "love makes a family" - Will there be a problem with my hetero family donning that sticker on the minivan? (it will be way too subtle a support statement on MY car) I am little frustrated that I am feeling bad for wanting to show my support. YES I DO SHOW MY SUPPORT AT THE BALLOT BOX TOO!

I think that some of you may be missing the point that its imperative that closed-minded STRAIGHT people realize that other straight people support LGBTs and that one may not assume that they driver is gay just because they support the population. It's a little wake-up call to some heteros.

Seriously - point a well-meaning hetero in the right direction - i am going to check back
cathy

Tracy

Hi WG,

I could not DISAGREE with you more!!!!

I believe you've totally missed the point with this bumper sticker. What's worse, I was googling the phrase because I was looking to buy one to put on my jeep and now you've made me feel bad about it, darn it! =)

What you're missing is that this message shows support for your lifestyle and equal rights. You ARE reading too much into it.

My daughter's gay. It makes me so mad that there are so many discriminatory laws that affect her. It is outrageous. And so many people I work with and interact with every day totally don't get it, which makes me even madder. "Against god" or "marriage is a religous institution" or "I don't have to support that immoral way of life" or any one of a billion lines of CRAP I hear...pretty sure you must have heard it too. It is because these folks expressing these opinions have created an imaginary picture of "those others" who are "less than them" because they are different than them.

Well, I am in a position to look those people square in the eye and say "oh yeah, so if there are people who are NOT gay, but STILL THINK GAY PEOPLE DESERVE EQUAL RIGHTS, then what does that mean???" In other words, they cannot simply dismiss me as the wronged party, I'm in their club and saying they're fd up. Do you see what I mean?

I can't imagine why you're trashing a slogan that people who support your rights can use to help you and maybe slowly sway the neandrethal thinking that witholds your rights. Dumb, man. And you kind of hurt my feelings, too. I'm not trying to shout out that I'm straight, I'm trying to point out that you don't have to be gay to support gay rights, it's fundamental.

Best,
Tracy

P.S. And I have an "=" sticker too, but I think that the only ones who recognize that are GLBTs, everyone else around where I live thinks it's a sticker for a military 03. So, I guess I'd be double cursed by you? What would be ok for me to post to show my support????? Geez, I find your position extremely confusing.

khyrand

TrickyT, I envision the target of bumper stickers (and maybe W&G, in a way?) to be not James Dobson and co., but the large wedge of moderates who neither like nor dislike the message--they simply hadn't thought about it yet one way or another. Those people might be put off by a more aggressive message, but a gentle nudge could set them to thinking...and some ratiocination never hurt anybody.

Increased visibility is already having an effect: at the university where I work, even the politically conservative students (discounting the highly religious) typically support marriage-equal civil partnerships for same-sex couples. Certainly political action still must be taken, but I suspect that when the change comes, it will be mainly because of grassroots support.

TrickyTricot

I don't disagree with you ____ - I think having a bumper sticker as a means of visibility for an issue is one avenue towards moving towards a more equal world - but in this case especially, it's dismissable. You know, you don't like the message - you just drive slower (or faster). Same thing with Will & Grace - you don't like it you change the channel. (On W&G, I will say, in the formative years, it was helpful towards supporting my development and coming out process, but I have a hard time believing that a hard-crossed conservative is going to watch it, have an epiphany, and change their minds).

In my mind, more aggressive means are absolutely necessary. Social activism, getting people to talk about an issue, voting and financially supporting with gay rights in mind, and being active on the local level - they're essential. How about we pass out bumper stickers that say "I support Gay rights," or "I vote pro-gay". Those at least mean something.

And even further, it's essential that gays become active in this conversation. We can't expect to get rights - or even maintain the rights we have if we aren't shouting at the top of our lungs that this is important.

Just my opinion.

khyrand

I, a gay man, don't find the "straight but not narrow" motto offensive, because I view its target audience as being straight people who don't understand the HRC sticker. It can be irritating at times (I'm usually not one for in-your-face tactics about anything), but the fact is that in order to cause change on a societal issue, the issue has to be visible on a large scale in order to make people who are unaffected by it aware that the problem exists. This is one reason why fundamentalists created such a ruckus about "Will & Grace" being on network television; familiarity with a strange concept breeds comfort with it. The bumper sticker's principle is the same.

TrickyTricot

I totally agree with your comment WG - I think just saying, "Hey, yeah, we don't have equal rights - it's cool", is like being totally apathetic towards living civically - and moreso, it keeps gays everywhere in this situation of not being equal - in a legal sense. There are states where discrimination on basis of sexual orientation is still "ok" - I mean, that alone is crazy!

To the person who couldn't even put a name on their comment (in the closet much?), I don't think it means you love your partner any less - but hey, wouldn't it be great if the state recognized your partnership? hey, woudln't it be great if you could check "married" on your taxes... There are all kinds of things that come with equal treatment.

In regards to the bumper sticker, I think it's smug too - it's like saying, "Look how accepting I am." To be frank, I don't care if you're hetero and you put "I'm straight but not narrow." Who gives a f. How about taking that sentiment straight to the polls...

Civically-fired-up, sorry to start a ruckus in your comments - best,

Amy

As a straight white female, I find that sticker a bit offensive too. I wouldn't put it on my car. It strikes me as smug and self-congratulatory for all the reasons mentioned. Maybe it's my midwest reticence, but since when should be brag about our own virtues? If I support gays by voting for gay-friendly candidates, supporting gay-friendly legislation, and supporting my gay friends as they need it seems to make a bigger difference than simply saying, "Hey, look at me! A hetero who likes gays!"

But I'm also the crank who wouldn't join a book club because they only read books by women and that struck me as unnecessarily limited. I don't want to be told to read a book by a female author or a black author or a gay author. I want to be told to read a book because it's really, really good.

Rambling now and signing off.

CC Mary

I meant to type "sticker" not "stinker"!

CC Mary

You're right on. I see that stinker and think it means "I support gay people but please don't think for one second that I'm gay". I can certainly see why it could be annoying, but, as you say, he/she probably means well.

Neagley

I think your comments are right on. I find myself doing the same thing: I make the assumption if I see the equality sticker that it means that they're gay. Even though I also have three heterosexual friends who dawn the sticker on their vehicles, too.

I think the slogan is a bit offensive to me, but I've kind of had to get over it. I think the result of the slogan is positive for the GLBT community and its something we'll just have to accept.

WG

Thanks very much for your comment. I was hoping this essay would get a good conversation going.

First, let me clarify that my post wasn't written with the gay marriage issue in mind (though perhaps the graphic I chose would lead one to think that). I don't care if I ever marry my partner--a certificate changes nothing about our love for each other.

I do care deeply, however, that the religious right in this country are obsessed with preventing gays not only from marrying, but also from having the basic rights of property inheritance, or the ability to make decisions about my partner's medical care if he were injured and couldn't speak for himself.

I'm also surprised that you think the word victim is in any way shocking. If you haven't personally been mistreated because you're gay, hey congrats to you, but I grew up in a meat-packing town where I was threatened, beat-up, and called a faggot for years when I was school. It's a simple fact that I have been victimized because I'm gay.

Do I live my life with the constant thought, "I'm a tragic victim"? Far from it--I love my life, and I'm very comfortable as an out gay man. That doesn't change the fact that gays are still hated by a lot of people in this country who would like to see us all just disappear (or die, for that matter).

It's a luxury not to feel that hatred first-hand (or fear physical violence), but acceptance is not something I will ever take for granted. I lived too long without it.

I'm not trying to pick a fight with you, I just wanted to explain my stance a bit more.

Thanks again for writing. -WG

You have a point, but I think you are reading too much into it. Take the support, wherever it comes from, regardless of how backwards it may be. I mean, honsetly, some of my best friends are straights (poor things). I'm also a little shocked by the use of the word vitim at the end. I don't feel like I'm a victim, equal rights are cool, but I truly don't feel discriminated against; and with respect to marriage, why should I want something so badly? Does it mean I love my partner any less just because he and I aren't married?

Mel

Yeah, I think you're on to something. That slogan has always bothered me just a little bit. Probably less so knowing that it's well-intended, but still....

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