I get that many people who comment here at News24 are anti-gay, believe that gay people want ‘special rights’, that being gay is a ‘choice’ and that gay people will all go to hell and so on. If you believe this you need not read any further. As an individual you are entitled to your opinion and I accept that and I am not here to try and change your mind - at all. However, if you understand that sexual orientation is not a choice (whether you are straight or gay) and that all people should be treated equally and with respect, please continue reading.
I was surprised to hear the ‘Floyd the Florist’ FNB ads on the radio over the last couple of days. For those who have not heard it, it is one of those cringe-worthy ads that poke fun at stereotypes; and in this case effeminate gay men. The problem I have is this: these types of ads validate the stereotype: that gay men are the laughing stock, all of them are camp, act like women and are basically a big joke. Most people who have gay friends, or who are gay, will know that the overwhelming majority of gay men are not effeminate; do not wear dresses and speak like girls but behave like ‘normal’ men (and I use this purely to illustrate a point) and won’t be identified as gay by most straight people.
What FNB seems to forget is that gay kids, in general, struggle extensively to come to terms with their sexual orientation. It is a very difficult process that normally involves a lot of name-calling and bullying by peers; and often result in gay kids committing suicide. In fact gay kids are more than 7 times likely to commit suicide than straight kids. This ad supports the notion that gay people are spineless ‘girly-boys’ that deserve to be laughed at and made fun of. This makes it more difficult for struggling teens to come to grips with being different; and supports the bias of bullies.
So FNB, either your marketing people are all childish 5-year olds, or are totally out-of-touch adults. These ads are irresponsibly and are not helping gay kids accepting themselves. Would you do an ad portraying a coloured woman as a sluttish drunkard with front teeth missing; or a black person as stupid? These are all disgusting stereotypes promoted by bigots. As a so-called responsible business I am really shocked at your inability to grasp the repercussions of promoting this stereotype, especially considering current movements such as the ‘It gets better’ campaign, which is specifically geared towards getting kids to accept themselves and not to kill themselves. Your ad is out-of-touch, irresponsible, clueless and very not cool.
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