Before I start, let me thank Melissa Lojewski, for unknowingly let me steal this picture from her Facebook page.
I love this poster because it makes a strong and simple point: it is what it is. Why do we have to qualify everything? Sometimes a person is a person. Sometimes a phone is a phone. We love descriptions to the point where we often OVER-describe things. For instance, why does someone have to be “athletic for a woman,” “well-spoken for a black guy,” or “cool for a rich person?” Why can’t they just be athletic, well-spoken, or cool?
People often describe me as, “the whitest black guy I know.” I always ask what that means. As of yet, nobody has been able to explain. While I love to play basketball, eat chicken, drink Kool-Aid, and listen to R&B, I also love to read, write, start and participate in conversation, volunteer, and travel. Do any of these activities make me more or less black or white? I don’t think so. Last time I checked black and white were both still colors, not sets of behaviors.
Just this past weekend, my mother (whom I see about once or twice a year) came down to visit. I showed her around some of my favorite spots. We started the day in one of the most underserved areas in the city and ended at a wine bar. I felt comfortable in both.
Enough about me. Back to the poster. This poster is important not because it’s a “gay” poster, but because, well, it’s important. You can substitute “gay” within the poster copy for any other descriptor, (e.g., tall, short, disabled, black, white, emo, smart, athletic) and “marriage” for any other noun, (e.g., immigration, conversation, education), and it still makes sense. While there are many specific issues we need to address, sometimes we need to take a step back and see something for what it is. Sometimes it’s very complex. Sometimes it simply is what it is.
Liz Feldman is a comedian, presenter, actress, and writer. She is also the author of the blog This Just Out, which can be found here.