Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The National Organization for Marriage and Marginalizing LGBT

Recently several companies have either made shows of public support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered individuals or donated money to pro-LGBT causes.  Understandably this has raised the ire of groups that spend millions of dollars fighting against rights for LGBT individuals.  However, it has raised a very selective ire.  Allow me to explain.

It started with Starbucks, which announced its support of Marriage Equality just after it was signed into law in Washington state.  Almost immediately, the National Organization for Marriage started its Dump Starbucks campaign, which has since run advertisements in Egypt, Beijing, Hong Kong, the Yunnan region of China, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait.  (You'll notice that many of those countries have laws which allow for the torture and imprisonment of LGBT individuals.  Classy.)  To date the Campaign has 45,660 signatures.  For comparison, the petition thanking Starbucks for its support has 651,100 signatures.

Shortly after, several other companies followed suit, among them General Mills, Microsoft, Facebook (note: two links), and Google.  NOM has moved to protest General Mills, but not the latter three.  This makes little sense when you consider the sheer advantage in reach Microsoft, Facebook, and Google have over companies like Starbucks and General Mills.  Why would NOM leave these three entities alone when they have a much greater impact on people than Starbucks and General Mills ever will?

Because the support of Facebook, Microsoft, and Google show that not only are LGBT a large demographic, but that we also have widespread support.  NOM's denial of these two things is central to their campaign of misinformation and their assertion that LGBT rights are in actuality special privileges.  Simply put, the less NOM's supporters know about LGBT, and the fewer LGBT individuals they know, the easier it is to swallow NOM's lies without skepticism.

To engage Microsoft, Facebook, and Google would be an admission by NOM that they've been lying about these things all along.  NOM would never admit to lying.  Painting LGBT individuals as a fringe group that is neither large nor popular has helped the organization to stir up fear about LGBT individuals and give its supporters a level of justification for endorsing oppression.  Knowledge is the antithesis of bigotry and NOM knows this.

But that gives cause for hope, because it means that LGBT are helping fight NOM's intent of oppression simply by existing.  The more people we encounter and the more people we interact with, the better as it helps prove that we are real people, not some faceless monster that NOM paints as evil.  NOM's selectiveness in who they'll engage gives us hope that their days are numbered.

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