What do anti marriage equality campaigners hate more than facts and logic? It is images and stories about happy gay and lesbian parented families.
You see, for those who oppose marriage equality the arguments have now increasingly turned to the issue of “the children”. The old “won’t you think of the children” cry of the desperate. So when our families and our children are portrayed in the media as happy, healthy and loving families, the hate lobby turn purple with rage. How can they demonise our families and our children if they are happy, smiling, loving….and public?
I often talk about the power of imagery. When we are talking about gay and lesbian parented families, that power trumps any amount of written words. When the punter reads his local Fairfax or News Ltd newspaper and there is a story on a gay or lesbian parented family, the most important thing is the image. The words that accompany it are merely the supporting act.
A picture of a smiling and happy family, with parents and children embracing and, well, simply being a loving family IS the image with which the punter will walk away with. The words are important, but the image is the thing that will impress in their minds. Consciously and subconsciously. A positive image will leave a positive impression. Simple logic. Powerful.
There is nothing more disarming to the hate lobby’s anti campaign than the image of the loving gay or lesbian parented family. You cannot defeat love with hate. Some people of course will be absolute zealots will rally at the hate. But ultimately the majority of people will see our families as just another representation of love. People genuinely respect that and respond to that. They don’t respond to being told to hate.
When I talk to other gay and lesbian mums and dads I encourage them to always be public and proud of their families. Get involved in media, whether it be a metropolitan daily, a local newspaper or even the School newsletter. It is important that the world sees our families as often as possible. It will show them that we are not threatening to society or their own families. It will show the world that quite simply we create loving and suburbanly boring families just like they do. We are them.
Getting involved in any sort of media is however more than just a photo opportunity. As important as that is, it is supported by the words. My general rules for media, whether it be print, radio or tv, is to talk about the positives, talk about love and commitment. Talk about the importance of family. These are all things the punter can easily relate to. And they want to relate to it.
There is no point taking an aggressive, argumentative or negative approach. Don’t bother slamming the hate of the Australian Christian Lobby or the Catholic Church. Let seasoned campaigners do that. Use your 5 minutes to show the rest of the world the amazing nature of your gay or lesbian parented family.
When our family started doing media about 6 years ago, these were the lessons that a good friend and media advisor gave us. I was sceptical at first. I wanted to attack those attacking my family. How dare they. But he told me that a rant is simply a rant and rarely changes people’s perceptions. But a positive, good news story that is centred around love has a power to change people’s minds. He was right.