In times of crisis or uncertainty, we turn to love. Ostensibly free of charge, relatively easy to administer, available 24/7 and on the go, love is the very thing that makes us human. You can see why it’s a key ingredient of any feelgood slogan– such as #LoveTrumpsHate – the perfect, albeit ultimately ineffective, antidote to Donald Trump’s noxious election campaign.
The LGBT Pride festival kicked off on Saturday, bringing us another love-in. This week tube stops in Soho were festooned with Pride livery, their roundels gingered up with vivid rainbows and, above Tottenham Court Road station, a towering display of the slogan for LGBT awareness and acceptance for 2017: #LoveIsLove.
On the surface, #LoveIsLove is a harmless sentiment, an emotive digital era re-up of “Good As You” or Stonewall’s “Some people are gay, get used to it”. It’s the assertion that the LGBT community is just like everybody else, but with feels – you love who you love, and who cares? This is the ongoing challenge with Pride and LGBT campaigning in general – it has two very distinct audiences and struggles to communicate effectively with both at once. In one corner, LGBT people and their quest for meaning, reassurance and inclusivity. And in the other, that aforementioned “everyone else” – put simply, the ones who need persuading not to abuse or kill us.
Plenty of LGBT people aren’t interested in love. It’s a luxury, “nice to have” but not essential for a valid experience. Some gay guys want to go to a local pub without feeling self-conscious about their masculinity. Lesbians may prefer not to be a sexual curiosity to some odious straight guy who refers to “girl on girl action”. Trans men or women, as the writer Shon Faye says on Twitter, would like to“just get milk from Tesco without being laughed at and harassed” and wear what the hell they want, let alone fall in love. Read more via the Guardian