Saturday, January 28, 2006

Quick update on Graffiti Ads' anti-gay discrimination

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Sue has posted a letter from an employee of Graffiti Ads, LLC. The employee says he is a gay man and he tries to defend the actions of his company. At first I wasn't going to post about this... I did receive his email as one of the first groups of people he sent it to. I was going to just let it pass and ignore the stupidity of the letter. After some thinking on it though, I decided I just have one thing to say: I think it is shocking that a gay man would sit in defense of a company which discriminated against the LGBTQA community based solely on the fact that gay is seen as "too controversial". This man evidently has some internalized homophobia. This issue, believe it or not... is bigger than ART and Graffiti Ads. This issue is indicative of a larger one which affects more Americans than most people think. Discrimination based upon sexual orientation needs to be outlawed, just as discrimination based on race is. I call on the Cities of Winston-Salem and Greensboro to amend their anti-discrimination policies to reflect that LGBTQ and straight people deserve protection from those who would treat them unfairly and discriminate against them based solely on one personal, innate characteristic. And... one more thing: This issue is not over (Sorry, Sue). This issue won't be over, at least for me (and this comes from my personal perspective as an activist) until Greensboro and Winston change their policies and welcome LGBTQ people in the community. See also: Graffitti Ads LLC employee says his company isn't homophobic...just cowardly Joe Killian Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,


While I have long been an advocate of updating the Greensboro City Ordinances to include sexual orientation in those that prohibit discrimination, please note that those ordinances prohibit discrimination in employment, financial services, access to public accomodations and housing. They do not prohibit discrimination in access to advertising or even for business dealings in general.

While it would be a positive step forward to add sexual orientation (and age) to the current list of "race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin" in the existing ordinanaces, doing so would not affect a situation like yours with Graffiti Ads because those kinds of relationships aren't covered by city ordinances to begin with.
Also, I personally think you are on the right side of the right/wrong equation here, because of that, you can take the high road. You harm your arguments when you resort to ad hominem attacks. Your point would have been just as well-made without the personal jab at Mr. Zimmer.
Hey Roch or Matt,

I'm actually really curious as to what are the current legal protections afforded to GLBT individuals in Greensboro, and have there been any court cases, or legal battles because of it here? It seems to be a topic that is kept fairly quiet. But what are the laws here?
I have to agree with Roch that there's no need to accuse Zimmer of internalized homophobia.

While it may be true (who really knows? I certainly loathe things about myself...) I don't think it's obvious from this letter.

In my opinion Zimmer seems like a nice guy who means well but has bought into the idea that controversy and the threat of diminished revenue trumps principle. If the people of the company are truly as opposed to homophobia as he says they have no business catering to homophobes at the expense of homosexuals who want the same options and services as heterosexuals. A major cornerstone of the civil rights movement was the demand that businesses rise above "controversy" created by the small minded to stand on principle and treat all people with dignity.

Of course - it's easy for me as a straight white guy to say you shouldn't react emotionally to a gay man telling you he thinks a discriminatory policy is okay if it makes a company more money. Beyond my feeling passionately on the subject I don't have a dog in this fight.
The really funny thing about all of this is, many of their ads look "gay", yet they have somehow still managed to draw a line over what is controversal or not.

As I stand before the urinal, I would much rather be stuck looking the add in question, rather than some of the clothing and accessery ads they have up there.

As far as I can determine, the laws that apply to discrimination do not include sexual orientation (or, strangely, age). All other laws should apply.
So, do you speak for all gay men, and who elected you to do so? Can there not be different opinions in the gay community? Or is yours the only one that counts and is right?
posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 1/30/2006 07:35:00 PM  
Hi Anonymous... the fact that this is MY BLOG should clue you into the fact that this is a place for my opinions.

If I were speaking for the gay community I would be Executive Director of the Human Rights Campaign or maybe the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force or EqualityNC.

Anonymous... this is my blog... it is meant for ppl to give their opinions on issues and on life and that is what I am doing.