[Andy Szekeres is a political consultant from Denver who specializes in LGBT ballot measures and progressive candidates and causes.]
What do you get with a racy title like FCKH8, very young kids, and swearing? A powder keg for the Christian right to demonize the LGBT community for corrupting the youth of America. I am talking about the newly launched FCKH8.com “Straight Talk About Gay Marriage” campaign which is a cute idea. But sometimes when people have good ideas, they rush to get them into the world when they should stop and look at it with a political set of eyes.
As of this posting, 429,980 people have watched the catchy video with everyone from the very young to the very old, the very gay to the very straight, and some shirtless people telling people get the F@*K over it. Well this is just what the right wing wants, because it provides a platform for them to attack our community for encouraging very young kids to swear.
Many of my friends ask me why we keep losing gay marriage campaigns. Well, it is very simple really; in my opinion, we lose them when it comes to what we call in the ballot world as “soft women” voters. Women voters never recover from seeing ads where the right wing claims that kids will be taught graphic sex in school as young as second grade. We lose them because the instinct to protect their child from harm even outweighs the logic of learning about graphic sex in second grade.
We in the LGBT community sometimes like to be our own worst enemy despite the best intentions. This happens even when rights are getting denied. I hope we will take a step back and look at what is at stake. In this case, everything is. Even an amateur ad producer can show a little kid saying “F*cking Get Over it,” with an image of two gay men or two lesbians where it says, “This is what gay values do to kids.”
I have been on the ground for these battles in Colorado, Wisconsin, and most recently as the Finance Director in the Maine Marriage No on 1 Protect Maine Equality Campaign. Many times, we lose the messaging war because we have so many voices speaking at once. Meanwhile, the right wing has the same voice, same talking points, and the same fear mongering. But we keep giving them the ammo… from the lesbian who took her class to her wedding to the teacher talking about sex in the classroom to little kids on camera telling people to get the F@*K over it.
Before you have a great idea, think about how this impacts our community in the long run. I love the concept of the FCKH8 campaign—and hell, I just bought a shirt—but I promise this campaign will cost us ten times what it will raise for the community, because it takes millions to counter negative ads and this can easlily be turned into a nasty one. This could be changed into something much more positive without any negative backlash by taking the little kids out of the video.
You be the judge: