Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Seeing Red

Earlier this week a call went out for people to wear or display the color red in support of the two marriage equality cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Red was chosen as it's traditionally associated with love, romance, and passion.

Outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., lots of folks wore red during the vigil yesterday and today for marriage equality . . .

. . . and various red symbols have spread across social media during the past two days, often accompanied by statements of support for marriage equality.

Things really picked up when the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released a red version of its logo (left). Many people on Facebook quickly adopted it – or creative variations on it – as their profile picture. Even some corporations jumped on the bandwagon.

I appreciate the reflection that "Mira" wrote today over at Free Thought Blogs on the strong online display of red. Part of Mira's reflection reads as follows.

. . . [I]t unquestionably felt nice to see so many red squares on my screen every time I checked Facebook today. Probably not for any “rational” reason. It just felt nice to know that all these people are paying attention to what’s going on, that they care about what the Supreme Court decides and they care in the direction of equality.

Maybe most of these people really haven’t “done anything” for queer rights other than change their profile picture. That’s actually fine with me, because not everybody needs to be an activist, and it’s enough to know that all these people are part of the majority of Americans who now support same-sex marriage.

And if you’re not part of that majority, you probably went on Facebook today and saw all the people who disagree with you and who aren’t going to take your shit anymore. Maybe you argued with someone who had changed their profile picture. Maybe we even started to convince you.

I think it’s vital to embrace all kinds of activism, from the easiest and least risky to the most difficult and dangerous. It’s important not to lose sight of the concrete goals that still need to be accomplished, and especially to discuss how the conversation about marriage equality marginalizes certain people and ignores certain issues. But it’s also important to recognize symbolic gestures for what they’re worth.

Being part of a minority – and being an activist – can be lonely, stressful, and discouraging. But today I felt supported and cared for. That matters.

Following are just a few of the creative ways that red has been used online this week to show support for marriage equality.

Above: The folks from True Blood come to the party!

Right: My friend Betty is currently using a photo of herself and others dressed in red and singing at the recent St. Valentine's Day event in support of marriage equality at the Minnesota State Capitol.

Left: Liberty and Justice as you've never seen them before!

Above: If you had a Dad as supportive as this guy's,
your heart would be all aglow too!

Above: My friend Andy gets to show his support
for both U.S. Soccer and marriage equality!

Above: Here's my current Facebook profile picture. It's the red stallion coat-of-arms of the heroic Prince of Thule, who stands valiantly for causes of justice and freedom! And that's what I see marriage equality being all about: justice and freedom.

Related Off-site Links:
Why Facebook is Turning RedThe Huffington Post (March 27, 2013).
Gay Marriage Equality Box Spreads on Social Media – Leanne Italie (Associated Press via Yahoo! News, March 27, 2013).
I’m Going To Rant About Those Little Equal Sign Facebook Profile Pics Now – Mira (, March 27, 2013).
Corporations Paint Their Brands Red For LGBT Rights – Jilian Fama (ABC OTUS News via Yahoo! News, March 27, 2013).
Both Sides of Gay Marriage Fight Agree: Today Was Historic – Gloria Goodale (Christian Science Monitor via Yahoo! News, March 27, 2013).
The Gay Marriage Snowball and Political Change – Glenn Greenwald (The Guardian, March 26, 2013).
Inside the Landmark Same-Sex Marriage Supreme Court Case: Recordings of Oral Arguments, PlaintiffsDemocracy Now! (March 27, 2013).
A Boost for Gay Marriage: Justices Question DOMA – Mark Sherman (Associated Press via Yahoo! News, March 27, 2013).
In Gay Marriage Case, Justices Focus and Trade Laughs on Fertility Question – Liz Goodwin (Yahoo! News, March 27, 2013).
Gay Marriage Case's Edie Windsor: Marriage 'Magic' – Jessica Gresko (Associated Press via Yahoo! News, March 27, 2013).
Edith Windsor And Thea Spyer's Great American Love Story – Sarah Karlan (BuzzFeed, March 27, 2013).
Idea for Supreme Court: Focus on Law, Not Politics – David Siroto (Salon, March 27, 2013).
Young Conservatives Push For DOMA Repeal At Supreme Court – Amanda Terkel (HuffPost Gay Voices, March 27, 2013).
Proposition 8 Defenders Have Gender Anxiety – Irin Carmon (Salon, March 26, 2013).
Opponents of Gay Marriage Say They're Not Bigots – Richard Wolf (USA Today via National Catholic Reporter, March 26, 2013).

UPDATE: What's Behind Criticisms of Those Red Equal Signs in Your Facebook Feed? – Derrick Clifton (The Huffington Post, March 29, 2013).

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