Press

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Unveils Satirical Voter Education Campaign — Welcome to the United States of Gaymerica

Date: 
September 24, 2004

www.gaymerica.org explores ‘the future’ as predicted by anti-gay activists

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
media@theTaskForce.org
646.358.1465

This week, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force unveiled a controversial new e-marketing voter education campaign satirizing the hateful and divisive rhetoric being used by anti-gay forces to incite irrational fears in the American people. The “Welcome to the United States of Gaymerica” campaign illustrates the absurdity of these divisive, fear-mongering, and false assertions by way of an “over-the-top” view at what America would look like if their assertions were carried to their expected conclusions. The three part Internet film begins with an introductory black screen message, followed by the satirical Gaymerica Web page, and concludes with a get-out-the-vote message and resources.

Modeled after other Internet-based education campaigns and donated to the Task Force, the Gaymerica campaign is designed to reach lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and those in allied communities who may not have otherwise been reached with Task Force and others' analyses of key issues facing the LGBT community this election cycle and the positions of candidates on those issues.

“Gaymerica.org is specifically meant to reach those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied communities who may not be planning to vote this year,” explains Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman. “Perhaps they are younger, or cynical, or turned off by the process, or simply don't pay attention to elections at all. Research shows, to catch their attention, we have to cut through all of the Web and e-mail clutter that is out there, do something edgy, controversial and different than our typical ‘mainstream’ messages - which are often humorless and always very serious.”

Foreman continued, “The reasons being given by opponents to equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are absurd and based on irrational fears. These fears are being used to divide the nation — and to justify the discrimination and injustices our people face in the workplace, in health care benefits, in hospital visitation rights, in taxation, and in many other areas. All of this must be rejected and voting is a way to do that.”

Gaymerica contains the anti-gay myths and slanders seen and heard everyday on the Internet, in the mainstream media, and even on the floor of the U.S. Congress. For example, Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) said “if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery.” Taking off on this, the Gaymerica site has a satirical article about the U.S. Senate passing a "Bovine Love Amendment" legalizing bovine/human marriage. The story states that opponents are challenging the law “on the grounds that 'I moo' does not sufficiently express the will of the betrothed.”

The Task Force said it was aware that some people may find the material on Gaymerica controversial, or perhaps, even offensive.

“What is truly offensive is the ugly, divisive, and false information anti-gay forces have been purveying for more than 30 years. Instead of diminishing over time, these attacks are escalating. This past Sunday, for example, Dr. James Dobson, head of the $125 million behemoth Focus on the Family said, ‘... we profoundly disagree with what [homosexuals] want to accomplish with children.’ We need to expose the absurdity of their claims, particularly since they are almost never challenged by the media or by non-gay political or faith leaders. Satire is a good way to do that.”

The Task Force said it hoped people would forward the site on to others, and that it would spark thought and discussions about the lies, distortions, and myths told about LGBT people, that people would visit the Task Force Web site to learn more about the issues, and above all, be encouraged and energized to vote.

For more information about our opponents, check out the reports in the Task Force Marriage Information Resource Center, online at http://www.thetaskforce.org/marriagecenter.

For more outrageous anti-LGBT quotes, download the free quote compilation PDF, "Know Thy Enemy" online in the Task Force Resource Library at: http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/KnowThyEnemy.pdf

More Q&A regarding the Gaymerica campaign is available as a free PDF download here: http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/GaymericaQAfinal1.pdf

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.