Gay Marriage’s Problem: Not Enough Pandas

December 18th, 2009

Inspired in part by Gay Marriage’s Big Problem (Huffington Post 12/14/09).


The environmental movement has pandas, a very cute creature,

And a highly useful marketing feature.

Blacks have had Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Wayne Brady, and Oprah

(Until the Right demonized him, they used to have Obama).


Gays have Ellen, who is fantastic

(Straights and gays are equally enthusiastic).

She’s a “normal” gay straight people can imagine befriending

Because she doesn’t do anything scary or offending.


But the media’s also full of gay’s other extreme,

Drag queens and scantily-clad marchers, with not much in between.

I’ve got nothing against them, in case that need’s clarifying.

It’s just that conservative straights find them terrifying.


Sticoms are full of gay stereotypes,

The bitchy gay male, or diesel dike types.

Some gays are like that, but most gays are not,

But that’s still the kind people see on TV a lot.


Black people have the same problem, though to a lesser extent:

The media’s full of gang-bangers and reports of racial discontent.

But after 50 years of Civil Rights, the media more energy does devote

Racial stereotypes not to promote.


We’re a timid species, we humans—

We fear things we think might be a threat.

That’s why some people still fear gays,

Who just haven’t found enough Sidney Poitiers yet.


Here’s otherwise unthreatening-to-whites Wayne Brady spoofing his image on the Dave Chapelle Show.

Here’s one of the earliest (from the 1970s) mass-market TV portrayals of homosexuality. The excellent comic actor Billy Crystal plays Jodie, in some ways stereotypically, but overall in a positive light. Check out the complete series on DVD here.

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One Response to “Gay Marriage’s Problem: Not Enough Pandas”

  1. Charlotte Edwards Hunt Says:

    “The more the world is permeated with images of gay and lesbian couples and families, the harder it will be for our relationships to be considered “other” – and the harder it will be for people to vote against us. I think we lost prop 8, because we fought the battle on the enemy’s terms. Instead of portraying same-sex couples and families as healthy and happy, we were not portrayed at all. To win we need to create a real emotional connection with the voters – we need to take advantage of the power an image has to move people’s emotions. ” Alix Smith

    Lesbian photographer Alix Smith is among 1143 artists being considered for a whopping $250,000 grant from Pepsi. For the last two years, Smith has been working on an award winning photography project/social action campaign that addresses inequality in civil rights – specifically, in the rights afforded to gay and lesbian individuals. Through gesture, color scheme, background and lighting, the photographs that comprise States of Union are loosely based on classical paintings. The goal of the project, which was exhibited at The Morgan Lehman Gallery in New York, and in Los Angeles at Manifest Equality, is to show LGBT youth – and indeed all Americans – that LGBT families, couples, and loves are no different than heterosexual ones and deserve the same love, support, and admiration.

    Pepsi’s “refresh everything” campaign seeks to reward “people, businesses, and non-profits with ideas that will have a positive impact” and will change their community. Smith believes that encouraging positive identify formation in gay and lesbian youth by exposing them to images of familial love that they can relate to is critical to changing all American communities for the better. States of Union has been compared to the AIDS Quilt in its power to have a profound emotional affect on those that see it.

    Voting for the winner of this grant began on April 1 and Smith’s project has already moved from 215th place to 61st, but in order to win she must move to 1st place. Supporters may vote daily for this project online at

    IN THE LIFE is doing a segment on Alix Smith and States of Union. It is the second story in the “Dismantling Hate” episode. You can see it online at:

    To learn more about States of Union go to:

    Thanks for taking a look at this project and we hope you’ll consider voting, passing the information to people you know or organizations you are apart of and we hope you’ll consider posting about it!

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