JCPenney has put out another gorgeous ad featuring a same-sex couple, this time two dads and their two kids in honor of Father's Day. It seems pretty clear that One Million Moms had less than no effect on JCPenney. (Other than perhaps inspiring JCP to keep moving forward seeing how desperately ads like this are needed.)
Visibility has long been a problem in the gay community. It's much easier to hate a group when you don't know any individuals in it. So being out is vital. But it can also be the road to being a victim of a hate crime from nasty whispers to violent attacks.
Still, members of the LGBTQ community have made themselves visible, from coming out to family and close friends to marching in parades to writing stories to doing drag, which is about far more than wearing a pretty dress, as Andrew Sessa recently explored in "Out."
There's something political in it, too. We've taken back drag, and pride in drag, the same way we've taken back "faggot" and "queer" and all those other epithets hurled at us in middle school. After all, being skinny might be the best revenge to some people. But for the rest of us, it's looking better in a mini-dress and stilettos than that bitch who wouldn't slow-dance with us in seventh grade.
Taking back language that has been used against us is a powerful tool. But we have to be seen in order to do that. We have to be visible in order to show what those words now mean to our community and how our community deserves to be treated with the same love and respect as anyone else.
Being visible means not allowing people to make assumptions about us as a group and instead demand that people look at us as individuals, individuals who write for the New York Times during the week and do drag on the weekends and individuals who own PR firms and pose for JCPenney ads with their beautiful family.
Say what you will. But you'd have to be crazy not to see the people in this JCP ad as the proverbial (and in this case, real) family next door. Thank you, JCPenney, and Happy Father's Day, One Million Moms.
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