Whoever Said Homosexuality Is Homogeny?

Whoever Said Homosexuality Is Homogeny?

Yesterday, B&T published an opinion piece from Ogilvy art director Alex Ward (read it HERE) that argued it’s impossible for advertisers to blanket bomb the LGBTQ+ community with a ubiquitous message. Here, Orchard account director James Langridge offers a polite retort

I want to give an alternative perspective on Alex Ward’s take on brands getting involved with WorldPRIDE, and the LGBTQ+ community.

In his recent article, Alex, says that “my eyes role when I see yet another plug socket telling me that ‘love is love’”, because he thinks that the sentiment “fails to celebrate difference” within the queer community (who have different lived experiences).

Gosh, is this really what we, as LGBTQ+ people, think when we see a rainbow flag, or a ‘love is love’ ad? To ask the question, “but why does this not speak directly to me, and celebrate my own lived experience and my points of difference?” That sounds like an awfully inward-focussed perspective to take, which risks fundamentally misunderstanding what the true value of these communications is.

To say ‘love is love’ is not to deny our differences (i.e. to say that all LGBTQ+ people are, and love, the same – whoever thought that anyway?), but rather to affirm our similarities (that everyone, whether a man, woman, straight, gay or everything in between, has the same capacity to love). This is the crucial message that is still met with resistance in many parts of the world, and still in some parts of Australia – that, fundamentally, there are more similarities between us than differences (so it follows that we should have the same rights, dignities, freedoms and opportunities). Within this political context, to expect or demand an acknowledgment of your own lived experience, or your own uniqueness, is to effectively see yourself as more important that the larger cause, which is equality for all LGBTQ+ people.

Don’t get me wrong, I also love and want to celebrate our diversity and differences within the community, but never have I looked at the efforts taken by a company or individual to support our cause (no matter how feeble or generic the creative) and said “well, I’m pissed off that you’ve not acknowledged my personal uniqueness in this”. Rather, I see the sea of rainbow flags, and ‘love is love’ ads, as a powerful, single-minded message – a beacon of solidarity and support, which might be seen on a Coles bag by some young LGBTQ+ person living in the middle of nowhere, and give them hope that there are others just like them, that they could belong to something bigger.

So ‘love is love’ is really not about marketing, and it doesn’t deny our differences, but it rather champions (and demands acknowledgment of) our sameness – which is the most important message that we can get behind.

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James Langridge

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