When Activists With Pure Hearts Shoot the Movement in the Foot…?

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[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:

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There are 7 Comments to "When Activists With Pure Hearts Shoot the Movement in the Foot…?"

  • Buffy says:

    I love the ad campaign. Yes there are people out there who will object to kids dropping the F-bomb but they’re the same ones who have no problem teaching children to hate, and to bully LGBT children. These are the people who constantly use The Children as pawns while they think nothing of letting millions of children starve in the streets, go without healthcare, suffer atrocities in the name of Jesus, etc.

    As I said in my own post about the video: “likely to offend the sort of people who consider strong language a moral crime but the abuse of human beings a virtue.” Frankly I don’t give a damn if those people are offended, since they don’t care if I live or die.

  • Keppler says:

    You know, I am sick to death of having other people dictate to me what is moral and what is not, and then having some gay guy admonish me to consider carefully how my behavior impacts the “community”. I’m tired of having Ramin Setoodeh tell me that the prevalence of effeminate gay roles on TV is reducing the appeal of gay people to mainstream America, and I’m sick of you, frankly, telling me that the choice of words coming from one small scion of the gay universe is having a deliterious effect upon my appeal to straight guys. We are what we are. If I have to eviscerate myself to fit in to straight America, then maybe fitting in isn’t worth it. (I’d send back the shirt if I were you. I wouldn’t want you to regret displaying your anger in inappropriate ways.)

  • Andy Szekeres says:

    I would disagree, this is not about how you or I feel. It is about how middle america who tend to be white, straight and have kids feel. When we have to fight at the ballot box the gay community needs to get over the fact that it is about how we feel. We are 4 to 10% of the population so what 2 – 5% of the vote?

    Well if something we do turns off 50% plus one vote, we lose folks. So lets get over the no one should judge what is moral kick. The MASSIVE majority do not find little kids swearing funny, cute or even right.

  • ZackFord says:

    Remember, folks, Andy’s a political consultant. He’s here to offer perspective not about what we should or shouldn’t like, but how things play with voters at large.

  • libhomo says:

    This tells us more about the author’s internalized heterosexism than it does about political strategy. The most important group for the queer movement to win over in the long run are young voters, and efforts like this are critical towards accomplishing that.

    The Christian Right will run ads attacking us no matter what we do. We would literally have to all become hermits to avoid giving something to run in their ads.

  • Andy Szekeres says:

    libhomo – I have no internalized heterosexism I am proud of my gayness. I am talking about straight voters and gay people because gay people do not win elections. I welcome you to come dial non gay voters and try to push that message to liberal women who are democrats and talk about kids as young as 5 dropping F bombs and see what they say.

    I am not here to talk about my personal feelings, I am here to win elections and we cannot do that without women voters… and FYI young voters do not turn out at a high enough pace to out vote the traditional base voters we lose with the base attack.

  • Miss Addict says:

    Your post conjured the image of Helen Lovejoy “Wont somebody think of the children” characters running around hands wringing. As if only women voters use concern for children to vote against gay rights, as if Women just darn illogical dontcha know.

    I see your point but I think saying that this campaign is going to turn off women based on language is an unfair and broad conclusion to draw and rather sexist to be honest.

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