Monday, November 24, 2008

GSA Monday Topic: Protests for Gay Civil Rights - Best Slogans

In the firestorm following California's Prop 8 vote to eliminate same-gender couples' rights to civil marriage by revising the state constitution to allow this particular type of discrimination, there have been enormous protests nationwide, the vast majority of them peaceful rallies and demonstrations of just how hurt and angry so many GLBTQ citizens and our supporters are about this horrible "tyranny of the majority" step California just took.

Some of the posters being held up at protests have been really great, like:

Sorry, were my Civil Rights getting in the way of your Bigotry?

(scroll down the page on this link to the amazing AfterElton websites' "Best. Gay. Week. Ever." for a photo of this protest sign in action!)

Gay is the new Black

No More Mr. Nice Gay

But I wonder if a poster with one of these great slogans, photographed in a newspaper, or on a website, or even seen in person, changes anyone's mind.

I think, maybe, a big protest (full of lots of great people and signs) makes others understand that a minority won't accept their ill-treatment. That we're standing up for our rights, just like other minorities have had to stand up for their rights in the past.

Someone recently referred to this time in history - right now, today - as being the Stonewall for this generation - "this" being 18-29 year olds. And I think there's something to that.

But what changes people's minds?

What really works, to get people who don't have a personal investment in the legality of same-gender marriage, to want Gay people to have this equal right?

What do you think?

And, if you have any other favorite slogans or posters you've seen, tell us about them in "comments!"



ps- I found the amazing protest image I used above here.


Unknown said...

Lee, I have no sign suggestions. To tell the truth I just took my No on 8 yard sign to the protest in Fairfield.

As for changing people's minds, Andrew Sullivan posted about a poll that should 8% of the Yes on 8 voters changed their minds after the protests. That does not sound like much, but remember the bill only passed by 4%.

So, I'll be marching.

Hayden Thorne said...

The best sign I saw was "Let Dumbledore Marry!"

I think education and outreach are the only ways of getting people to change their mind. Protests certainly keep the issue in the forefront and will motivate those in higher positions of authority (state legislature, for instance) to do something about protecting civil rights.

In the Prop 8 battle, age and religion factored greatly into the mix. The older generation, I think, are pretty much set in their ways and beliefs, being from a completely different generation from us. I honestly doubt if they're going to change their minds, regardless of education and outreach. The younger (and thankfully up-and-coming) voters grew up exposed to more liberal values and are certainly much savvier than previous generation when it comes to finding information online.

Religion was an obvious factor, though I'm rather pleased to see that Catholics were more likely to vote against Prop 8 than for it. Go Catholics, you social rebels, you. Not that I consider myself affiliated with them anymore, but my past ties remain fairly strong. Heh.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I like the poster that Sherrie talks about here.

We do live in interesting times. I'm sure you've seen the Obama-Biden civil rights agenda. I have a link here.

web said...

Although my mind didn't need changing, I think the most "aha" moment I've gotten came from the Toles cartoon, which pointed out so brilliantly that in the same election, Californians had voted to give *more rights* to *chickens*, while taking them away from human citizens.

I enjoy the funny signs, but I think making points about rights and citizenship have the most chance of being convincing.

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Yeah, web, I think I know the one you're talking about - where the two chickens are walking and one says something like "it feels so great to stretch my wings" and the other says "Just don't tell them we're GAY."

Funny. And also fascinating that humor like that really DOES make people think. Funny slogans. Cartoons.

Maybe humor, and laughter, is actually more powerful than any of us think?


Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Sorry, for those of you outside California- just as a reference, there was ANOTHER voter referendum in California that at the same time a majority of voters voted against same-gender marriage, a majority of voters voted FOR the rights of farm animals to be raised more humanely (i.e., chickens kept in cages large enough to stretch their wings or turn around...)

hence the comic.


web said...

The cartoon I was thinking of was actually one that asked, "now that we've voted for bigger cages for chickens, what should we do with the small ones?" And you can probably guess where it goes from there. :-\

Christine said...

Last Friday I was in NYC with my three kids and we saw a large group of young people, standing in couples, and carrying carrying "I Do" signs. They were asking for signatures to support a same sex marriage initiative. My kids asked me what "I Do" means and it opened up a great discussion for us right there on 42nd Street. It was a pretty simple "slogan" asking for a pretty simple right.