Red Conquers Facebook
Posted by Alicen Lewis
Yesterday night, I was chilling with my friend Jake, and he noticed my new facebook profile picture and asked what it meant. If you haven’t seen already, Facebook has recently been awash in red equal signs. The Supreme Court is hearing the case against gay marriage in California this week, and some of those who support gay marriage have changed their profile picture to a pink equal sign on a red background. I told Jake this, and his first reaction was to laugh. ‘What, is this supposed to make a difference? Is the supreme court going to suddenly notice all the new profile pictures, and base their decision on that?’
Surprisingly enough, and perhaps it’s just because I’m queer, but the red sign movement actually means quite a bit to me. I don’t think it’s going to change anything, I don’t think homophobes are going to look at all the people who’ve changed their profile pic and suddenly see the light, but to me, the red signs were a sign of support, not a sign of change.
This may be a bit pity-partyish, but sometimes it’s hard to be queer and go through life everyday not quite sure what type of reaction you are going to receive. That horrible pause when you need to decide if correcting someone on your sexuality is worth the judgement. People don’t tend to wear signs on their foreheads saying ‘I am 0%/45%/98% okay if you were queer’. I may be proud and out, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt every time a friendship, or even a casual first meeting, suddenly becomes a bit more awkward (or completely destroyed) if they find out I’m queer. Sure, you can say ‘Well, if they aren’t okay with it, they aren’t worth your time’, but honestly, simplifying a person to one belief is just a coping mechanism, and doesn’t really stop the hurt. What if I was enjoying the conversation with them? What if they would have been a great video game buddy? As ashamed as I am, sometimes I try not to bring up my sexual preferences if I’m afraid I’ll lose a possible friend.
Now, enough with the whining, the point of this blog is to comment on why I love that my news feed has been flooded with red. Suddenly there is a sign on everyone’s forehead saying ‘I am 100% okay with you being queer’. Sometimes you read so much in the news about hate and homophobia and violence that you forget the people surrounding you, the people important to you, are probably perfectly okay with it, or just don’t care. Sometimes someone who you would have never have openly admitted being queer to has changed their profile picture, and you realize maybe there is a bit more acceptance in your life than you knew. My childhood friend Julie is very religious, and although I doubted she hated gay people (she is one of the sweetest and most loving people I have ever met), I was afraid her religion was going to decide for her if homosexuality was okay. And then she posted this:
I honestly almost cried.
So yes, I don’t think the profile pictures are going to bring about social change. I don’t think everyone feels the same way I do about feeling supported by them, and some people don’t need the support. But as a queer who needs to convince herself everyday that it’s ‘okay to be gay’ (or bisexual in my case), the fact that the Supreme Court even needs to comment on gay marriage in California reminds me that not everyone agrees, and there are plenty of people who will hate me based on my sexual preferences alone. So during this tipping point, when I am constantly reminded people despise my sexuality enough that they are willing to legislate against it, I honestly appreciate that there are people in my life who are willing to remind me that they are on my side, even if it’s just with a profile picture.
About Alicen LewisFind me on BaiRabbit.wordpress.com! Archived Blog: Previously a summer intern for the startup incubator Idealab, during the school year I am also on the board of the Scripps College Professionals Network, Team Leader and Head Web Designer for Scripps College IT for Faculty, and President of Scripps Women in Technology. My previous experience includes working Digital New Media with Geek & Sundry, a Los Angeles Commercial YouTube company.
Posted on March 28, 2013, in Commentary, Gender/Sexuality, Growing Up, Opinion and tagged bisexual, christianity, Gay, gay marriage, homophobia, homosexual, HRC, Human Rights Coalition, Lesbian, marriage, prop 8, proposition 8, red equal sign, red equals sign, religion, sanctity of marriage, social action, social activism, social change, supreme court. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.