Happy Proud! It’s the month every brand wants to sell you rainbow-colored merch, even if they don’t donate a portion of the profits to charities that support queer or trans people (and are actually owned by people who donate money to organizations that… Take an active role in reducing LGBTQ+ rights(opens in a new tab)). It is the month when we are reminded again and again love is love.
When it comes to LGBTQ+ rights, the phrase “love is love” comes from campaigns for marriage equality. There’s no underestimating the importance of being able to marry the person you love. There are still 64 countries where Homosexuality is criminalized(opens in a new tab), and activists are still fighting for governments to recognize queer relationships in many other countries. But in a year that has seen more than 500 bills introduced in the US aimed at doing just that restrict the rights of queer and transgender people(opens in a new tab)the sentence is bullshit.
“Love is Love” allows straight CIS people to ignore the uncomfortable truth that gay rights did not begin or end with same-sex marriage. (Many argue that “marital equality” hasn’t even been achieved, since both queer and straight people with disabilities cannot marry without the risk of losing some or all of its benefits(opens in a new tab).)
Making queerness more palatable to cishet people
Love is Love’s strategy was to challenge cis straight people to see the humanity of queer people because we are identical to them. Chris*, a bisexual cis man, believes there is always a need for marketing campaigns that make uncomfortable or challenging concepts more palatable to the general public: “I think all political campaigns benefit from catchy slogans that make it to assert oneself.” broad audience. “Love is Love” clearly did that and was a useful hook to start conversations about all kinds of queer relationships.”
Still, some queer people feel like it was only By pitching ourselves, straight cis people can see us as human beings. Charlie, who is gay and transgender, said “love is love” has resulted in “marginalized queer voices being silenced in favor of more ‘compatible’ opinions and arguments.” upholds that homophobia and discrimination have vanished since same-sex marriage and ignores the other issues faced by queer and transgender people.
What does the word “queer” even mean?
Amy, a Sapphic woman, thinks the term has served its purpose in the fight for same-sex marriage, but that “it relies too heavily on the respectability aspect that tells the cishets we all just want to be monogamous.” Marriages and a white picket fence, 2.4 kids and a dog.”
Some LGBTQ+ people Do We want these things, of course, but not all of us want our lives to be like this. Florence, who’s bisexual, feels that “love is love” is intentionally desexualized, making queerness family-friendly in a way it shouldn’t be (especially when queer women aren’t making out in a non-sex public space can). a man asks if he can join).
In addition, many queer and transsexual people not feel that their love is the same as the love of straight cis people. Hannah, who is homoromantic and asexual, likes the intended message that “it shouldn’t matter what our orientation is, and we’re all equally valuable.” But as much as they want to like “Love Is Love,” they’re frustrated about how it appears to only affect gay and bisexual people who are in romantic and/or sexual same-sex relationships.
Bisexuality and the fear of not feeling “queer enough”.
“My queer identity is important to me as a person, [including] “If I’m single,” Hannah said, “I would think of ‘love is love’ as a phrase that also implies that friendship is just as important as romantic love, but that’s never how the phrase is used.”
Hannah reflects some people’s frustration that the term ignores gender diversity or atypical identities (on the asexual/aromatic spectrum) such as intersex people or straight trans people. It feels similar to the process of getting a UK Gender Recognition Certificate and changing the gender designation on your birth certificate: straight-cis people will respect our weirdness and our impermanence, as long as it looks the way they think it does it should look like. As long as they are the ones who get to decide on the criteria.
Straight CIS people will respect our weirdness and impermanence as long as it looks the way they think it should.
Amy also points out how many things the phrase glosses over. “Most pertinently, ‘Love is Love’ doesn’t address the grossly disproportionate rates Intimate partner violence affecting bi+ women. It does not give trans people access to health care. It does not prevent queer children from being tortured conversion therapy. It doesn’t really do anything to free either of us.
Liberation or Assimilation? The LGBTQ+ community has been asking this question for years. If we’re being honest, cis people will only accept us if we hold back, do we want that acceptance?
The pink wash of corporate pride
Many queer and trans people don’t want businesses or politicians tweeting “love is love” or other carefully crafted statements this month – as British Prime Minister they feel like empty platitudes Rishi Sunak thinks kids are dating(opens in a new tab) to their parents is a good protective decision. Florence doesn’t care what a company tweets during Pride, she cares more about whether they include gender-sensitive healthcare in their health plans and what their parental leave looks like.
Still, it’s scary to see such companies Target is making changes to its Pride collection(opens in a new tab) after targeted attacks by right-wing fanatics. Even if queer people poke fun at pink social media campaigns, they at least show the progress we’ve made in queer acceptance.
The release of the Pride merch brands in June feels completely detached from the first Pride march. (This was to commemorate Stonewall Uprising(opens in a new tab)where queer and trans people fought back during a police raid in which police checked that people were wearing at least three items of clothing that were “appropriate” for their gender under New York law at the time.) But for the queer or trans child in one For a town in the middle of nowhere that doesn’t feel safe being itself, a fast-fashion t-shirt with a rainbow flag on it may offer the only way to connect with the queer community.
“We must always strive to queer queerness. In this case, that means moving from ‘love is love’ to slogans that acknowledge the complexity and intersectionality of queer struggles.”
It’s terrifying that companies are starting to reclaim that rainbow-colored support – but it also shows how limited that support was in the first place. “Love is love,” it seems, doesn’t refer to a trans person’s love for themselves. Kara, an Aro/Ace trans woman, doesn’t personally find the phrase off-putting, but thinks maybe it’s about time to go beyond. “We must always strive to queer queerness. In this case, that means moving from ‘love is love’ to slogans that acknowledge the complexity and intersectionality of queer struggles.”
We might need a snappy slogan to keep the fight for queer and trans rights moving, but I don’t know how to succinctly express it other than “Trans rights are human rights.” Isn’t it weird that no big companies sell merchandise -Sell items with it?
*Chris and others have chosen to use only their first names to protect privacy.