An astute reader directed me to the website for G-Fad, a local company whose “Gay for a Day” kits were being handed out at Vancouver Pride this past weekend.
Each kit contains:
- A mini rainbow flag
- A colourful whistle
- Flashing LED sunglasses
- Mardi Gras beads
- And a T-Shirt emblazoned with “Gay for a Day” on the front.
Most of these things are unremarkable at Pride, but it’s the whole “Gay for a Day” idea that bothered the person who sent the info to me.
G-fad’s website states that the shirts are meant for “people with brothers or sisters who are gay…people with fathers or mothers who are gay…people with cousins, friends, neighbours and co-workers who are gay.”
Taking issue with the idea that straight people can choose to be gay for a day and the implication that sexual orientation is a choice, my reader asked, “What’s next?: lesbian for a long weekend?”
There’s certainly no evidence that G-fad is trying to make a statement about the fluidity of sexual identity. In fact, the “Gay for a Day” idea reads more like stereotyping and appropriation for marketing purposes. Straight people should be allies in the struggle for LGBTQ equality – at Pride and throughout the year – but “Gay for a Day” feels kind of like a white person dressing up “Mexican” for Halloween by wearing a sombrero and a fake moustache. Not only is it a stereotype (how do flashing sunglasses denote one’s gayness?) , but it’s highly convenient for the person taking on the identity. They don’t have to experience any real threat of discrimination or identity-based violence and when the Pride celebrations are over there’s no obligation to continue thinking about gay rights.
I should note, for those people worried a “Gay for a Day” shirt might make them seem too gay, listed disclaimer-like on the back is the following definition:
1. a: bright and pleasant, promoting a feeling of cheer;
b: keenly alive and exuberant: having or inducing high spirits
2. Full of or showing bright-spirited merriment;
3. Brightly colored and showy;
I guess this is in case someone asks you about your shirt and you’re embarassed. Then I guess you can say, “No! I didn’t mean I’m gay-gay for a day. I just mean I’m brightly colored and showy. Can’t you tell by my mini rainbow flag of non-homosexual bright-spirited merriment?”
Doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. What do you think?