I remember way back in the nineties when I was dating my then boyfriend Billy, a commercial for Christmas gifts came on the tv. It was from a hardware store, it featured two young men, one was saying that for Christmas he was going to get his father a chainsaw. The second guy said looking puzzled, that the first guy's father didn't have a fire place. The first guy said with a grin and a little twinkle in his eye, "no but we do" and I think he may have touched the second guy's shoulder or arm. My boyfriend was ecstatic, he pointed this out to me, clearly they were a couple, stores were finally starting to tap into the LGBTQ market. It was a depiction of "us" on the tube, no longer was the world trying to pretend we didn't exist.
However our joy would be short lived. It turns out that thousands of little children saw this commercial and instantly converted into homosexuals. No of course that didn't happen but the wing nuts completely lost their minds over the commercial and threatened the store with boycotts and protests. Sadly the ads were pulled leaving us to realize that we were not part of society according to many people.
Fast forward to last night, sometimes it is amazing to me with how much things have changed. I was watching a program and a commercial came on for red rose tea. A nervous young woman told her father that her best friend was actually her girlfriend, they had been talking over cups of tea, the father leaves the room only to return with a cup of tea for the girlfriend and asks her to tell him about herself.
I said "wow", I know younger people won't see the meaning of the moment for me but it's still huge for me. A big smile on my part, not because a company was smart enough to tap into the LGBTQ market, they will always find ways to market products to different groups, it's that most people watching that commercial will agree with it. Most people would also look suspiciously at any group that would try to stop the commercial. Most companies would secretly welcome this type of fight now, they couldn't pay enough to appear to be an inclusive company fighting with a group of bigots. The free positive coverage would be an advertising jackpot for any company.
Still, putting aside all thoughts of profits, bigots, equal rights etc, it certainly feels good for this gay man to look up at the tv and see a member of my community being portrayed in a simple tea commercial.