One of the most awkward things about being part of a minority is that you are at once the local spokesperson for the Minority, and the first person the Majority goes to for comfort. For example, the day after Prop. 8 passed, I was sitting in my office, my little fit of depression tempered by a little relief that the American electorate actually went out of its way to make sure Mr. Obama won. Someone walked into my office, and the first thing she said to me was: “No one should sit on the back of the bus! No one. Can we talk about this at lunch? I’m really upset” and walked out. I felt like I had been hit by a bus. And this is the response I had over a course of several days, from all sorts of people. Well, better late than never.
The gay rights movement, like many minority groups, learned that in order to get things done, you really have to swallow your pride (that’s pride with a little p) and enlist the help of the majority group who sits in the positions of power and finally – finally – is sympathetic to your cause, is willing to gamble its political currency, and take the credit for it all once the goal is realized. Enter FAIR (Freedom Action Inclusion Rights), an organization quickly organized after the passage of Prop. 8. At FAIR’s request, Shepard Fairey created a poster intended to galvanize the movement as well as his Hope poster did for the MoveOn set. The result is slightly more affecting than American Apparel’s retro, almost whimsically passive “Legalize Gay” tshirts: his is a gnarled fist with the words “Defend Equality/Love Unites” above and below [insert snarky comment about his source material for the fist here]. You can buy shirts and the poster on FAIR’s website here (the politics of inclusion necessitates the politics of fundraising), but if you want to show all your gay friends that you really care, come out to Andaz in West Hollywood on November 12th.
There, FAIR, in conjunction with HOMOtracker and Mr. Fairey, will debut the Love Unites Shepard Fairey Equality Project and launch an online auction of select posters signed and/or “customized” by certain celebrities (from the looks of it, Virginia Madsen really took the time to hone her scrapbooking skills with hers). Advanced tickets are here; it’s $100 for a VIP ticket, which includes appetizers, swag, and pool access, and $30 for general admission (which, fyi, also gives you access to the open bar). Tickets are tax deductible, and all proceeds will go towards the fight for marriage equality (which is our stand-in for – say it with me – the fight against homophobia). As if you need more reason, Mr. Fairey will be there himself to spin a few discs in a special DJ set. And, because parking in WeHo is such a pain, try taking the bus. I’ll sit in the front.