I was walking down the street yesterday thinking about what I wanted for dinner, and wondering if the boyfriend would go for a second Thai curry this week, when I saw a London bus bearing the Stonewall slogan “Some people are gay. Get over it!” I knew the campaign had started this last week, that 1000 London buses would be carrying this sign, but it was a startling and rather wonderful moment. I am used to invisibility in public. It’s part of the LGBT experience, after all. When sexuality is present in the ads on the sides of buses it’s usually there for a Rom Com, or it’s a straight couple holding hands – which for the last few months has been mostly Ryan Reynolds and ‘girlfriend’ in Marks & Spencer togs. It’s so ubiquitous that I rarely think twice about it. When I saw the Stonewall ad two worlds collided. I had a reaction that I could not have predicted and did not think I needed: I felt a sense of validation, and a sense of hope.
Of all the slogans that have done the rounds throughout the years, I think this is my favourite. Why? Because it’s what acceptance is about. Some people are gay: it’s a fact, not an issue, it’s part of the way we live now and not a challenge to it. The ads are running as part of Stonewall’s marriage equality drive. There is so much hot air blown by the opposition to equal marriage that the essential truth – that it is about equal rights – is lost under the defence of marriage rhetoric, and the oddball conclusion that the next change on the docket will no doubt allow people to marry their pets. (I wonder what it must it be like to be so irrational that a] you’d think this, and b] you’d be prepared to say it in public.) Of course, there has been a backlash in response to this slogan, which Stonewall has been using since 2007. There is the “Most People Aren’t Gay, Get Over It!” movement, and the questionable, “Most People Hate Gays, Deal With It!”
“Recent deeply offensive comments comparing marriage equality with slavery, child abuse, polygamy and bestiality clearly show that we still face significant opposition,” Stonewall state on their campaign site. If only such commentators would get over it. In the end, we’re all just walking down the street thinking about how to get on with our daily lives.