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I am a big believer in free speech. I recall a time when we honored opposing viewpoints. But that era is bygone. In today’s world, if you disagree with the woke-folk, they’ll cancel you out faster than a crowd of patriots rushing to a MAGA rally.
When America Out Loud became a thing back in April 2016, the first rallying call we put out to the people was “let the silent voices be heard.” It was an answer back to the countless voices which were being ignored and canceled out. Keeping in mind, this was well before the cancel culture became so embolden in partnering with the far left loonies.
Our America was an experiment designed to welcome competing and differing points of view. Diversity of opinion and thought is traditionally deeply woven into the American landscape. This is the America we grew up with and that we are desperately trying to hold onto.
One of our weekly columnists, Taz Thornton, got my attention with her article, “Put Down Your Rainbow Hammers and Stop Looking for Nails.” Taz is an Inspirational Speaker, Best Selling Author, Empowerment, and Visibility Coach out of the UK, and she is exceptional at what she does! As you can see if you click on her name above, Taz typically writes inspirational and self-improvement articles designed to lift people up. So this article got my attention big time with the following message:
There is much more to the message in that article, and as I promised Taz, it is published below. But first, a few other details you should know.
I knew there had to be more to Taz’s message. Taz doesn’t do the hate thing. But like me, she will call people out for their hateful ideology. Bullying, racism, attacks on religion, thought, gender⏤are all off-limits in my America.
When the article missed the publishing deadline⏤the following week, Taz sent me a message saying, “Just uploaded this week’s article. I’m guessing you didn’t like the last one ?. Let me know if that one’s definitely not being used, and I’ll post it elsewhere. Taz xx,” I responded, “The article from last week is an opportunity to do a broadcast, I believe. And I believe we should post the article with that broadcast. So it was delayed but not forgotten.”
So, I invited Taz onto The Voice of a Nation to talk about the article and the message within. Along with Taz Thornton, I invited Pastor Stephen Broden, and author and speaker, George Carneal.
Taz Thorton: Inspirational Speaker | Best Selling Author | Empowerment, Confidence & Visibility Coach | Extreme Empowerment Specialist — Founder: #UnleashYourAwesome personal empowerment and business breakthrough seminars | #BrandMastery program. Co-host – America Out Loud | TEDx Speaker | DIVA PowerList | SourceTV Evolutionary | BBC Radio regular | Featured: HuffPost, Kindred Spirit, Sky TV, and more. https://tazthornton.com.
PUT DOWN YOUR RAINBOW HAMMERS AND STOP LOOKING FOR NAILS
by Taz Thornton
Welcome to June. Pride Month. That time of year where big brands turn their logos rainbow in support of LGBTQ+ equality, diversity, and inclusion.
Though thanks to lockdown, a lot of pride events across the globe have either been postponed or turned virtual, Pride Month is still very much in full swing.
Media outlets are covering more LGBTQ+ topics; rainbow flags are popping up all over social media, and, as is becoming the trend, LGBTQ+ people are using the bandwagon opportunity to bite the hand that feeds them.
I’m talking about all the furor over so-called ‘rainbow washing.’
Yep, it seems a growing number of people from the rainbow community are using this month as an opportunity to go all guns blazing at the big brands who are standing in solidarity with us.
They’re accusing all those big brands of profiting from Pride. For me, that slap-down is a short-sighted shot in the foot and displays a very clear lack of understanding about how the world of business works.
Go back only a few years for a bit of perspective. Publicly supporting LGBTQ+ equality is HUGE for any brand.
That rainbow banner stands as a really powerful message to all the far-right haters and homophobic shoppers, to those who use religion to excuse discrimination, to those who disown or don’t support their LGBTQ+ kids, etc., etc.
For me, any major body making a huge statement that essentially says ‘it’s okay to be gay (or bi, trans, non-binary, queer, etc.)’ IS of benefit to the LGBTQ+ community.
The more we ‘normalize’ being LGBTQ+ – including major brands displaying the rainbow during Pride month – the more the old tenets of homophobia and anti-gay religious indoctrination crumble.
Could some of these brands do more? Sure. That’s what we lobby for. And if any are genuinely responsible for human rights violations, then, yes, we call them out. They’ll be the exception, though, not the rule.
At this point, I’m gonna plant my feet and say I make no apology to any readers currently choking on their outdated biblical rhetoric and going all gung ho against all things gay.
This is 2021, people – move on. Don’t come at me with your backward interpretation of messages in a book written in a different language and at a different time, especially if you’re still eating shellfish, rabbit, or pork, wearing mixed fibers, cutting the sides of your hair, or have a tattoo.
God made me just the way I am. It’s not a ‘lifestyle’ or anything else that implies choice, any more than I chose to have pale skin and blue eyes.
If you don’t like gay people, don’t marry one. Simple. It’s a bit of a blanket statement, though, isn’t it? You’ve probably met, and not disliked, a gazillion and one people who happen to be gay.
If you’re going to go against something, at least understand why, and have a real, solid reason beyond throwing around the silly, old ‘Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve’ trope, which is pretty easy to dismiss.
Back to the point…
This week, I saw someone berating supermarket chain Sainsbury’s for showing a rainbow logo and displaying rainbow banners outside their stores. The argument? Sainsbury’s had no business standing for gay rights over here when one of their biggest shareholders is Qatar (where homosexuality is outlawed).
Let’s flip that the other way around for a moment…
One of their biggest shareholders is, reportedly, Qatar, and yet they STILL display the rainbow banner in countries where it’s legal – and safe – to do so.
On the very same Facebook thread, a trans-Sainsbury’s employee explained they had always been backed by their employer, and that all kinds of really positive LGBTQ+ support were offered across the group. Never let the facts get in the way of a good, misplaced political rant, eh?
Meanwhile, someone else was berating car manufacturer BMW for displaying a rainbow logo in the UK, but not in the Middle East. The commentator made the assumption that doing so might “dent their sales.”
Stop and think for a moment. Not too many years ago, it might have dented BMW’s profit margins to go rainbow in the UK and US too. And yet, here they are, doing just that.
Could they actually display a rainbow in the Middle East right now, without their business being destroyed there, people losing their livelihoods, and perhaps, their employees being jailed, beaten, or worse?
Do we know if they’re doing anything behind the scenes to chip away?
Do we realize how much shade they’ll draw from that part of the world for even displaying the rainbow over here?
It’s not down to BMW to change the law in a country they are, essentially, a guest in.
It IS down to BMW to support our cause, where they can IF they choose to.
And they HAVE chosen to.
They didn’t need to. I can’t imagine their car sales suddenly skyrocket because they’re showing a rainbow logo. And if they did? So what. Jobs, employment, economy, etc., etc.
What do we actually want the result of this to be?
If we’re not absolutely clear about our intention, if we’re not asking specifically for what we want instead of rolling out our tired old rhetoric about big corporates profiting from Pride, we just look like a bunch of angry LGBTQ+ people, wielding hammers and looking for nails.
What would the world be like if all those major brands STOPPED supporting LGBTQ+ causes and Pride?
Do we really want them to all stop displaying those rainbow banners?
I know I don’t.
As someone who grew up in times where we did not have today’s levels of inclusivity, where the sight of a rainbow flag was a sign that I could breathe in that tiny space, that I didn’t need to hide, that I was okay and accepted, seeing rainbow flags everywhere throughout June is to be celebrated.
If we don’t want that to stop, we need to quit being so cynical and judgemental, stop taking how far we’ve come for granted, and start working more WITH these brands to increase awareness and action instead of slapping them down for standing as allies.
Give me the rainbow Starbucks cups, supermarket, and car brand logos, give me rainbow Amazon, Disney, Levi’s, and Gap. Give me every bit of visible support we can get from brands who recognize the days of homophobic exclusion, bullying, and hate need to go the way of the dodo!
We need all the allies we can get.
Until next time,
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