After Sam Shore and the teams at Rainbow Youth and OUTLine launched WTF last week, the flak started flying. The campaign features a bunch of celebrities and a loud message that features a pretty naughty word. It’s internet-based and therefore targeted at a younger demographic that may share the video on Facebook without following it up by giving money to the two organisations. It’s too this… It’s too that… Once again, detractors have come out of the woodwork to say that something someone in the community put together in an attempt to drum up awareness and funds is not good enough.
There appears to be quite an ugly Little Red Hen scenario happening here. Replace “Who will help me sow the seeds?” and “Who will help me harvest the wheat?” with “Who will help create a campaign to help needy organisations?” and you’re on the right track. The end of the road is where it gets ugly. The little red hen asks, “Who will help me eat the bread?”, and gets to deny those who didn’t help the fruits of her labour. In our uglier, gayer version of the story, when the people who put these campaigns ask, “Who will help me raise awareness and funds?”, a steady flow of detractors shouting “I won’t, but I’ll shit on your ideas” surfaces. Awesome.
After I put my money where my gaping maw is last week, I was asked why I did so. I was asked why I felt Rainbow Youth and OUTLine were deserving of my money. I didn’t have a lot to say at the time, but as is the case with any wit, it happens as you’re walking down the staircase, so here goes.
I decided to give my money to Rainbow Youth and OUTLine to keep their doors open. I decided to hand over the cash because I want to know that schools all over the place are getting visits from out, proud and educated people who want to help queer and questioning kids feel like they’re not alone in this world. I want these kids to see someone cool and honest and open come in and tell them that it’s all right to be themselves. I’m giving over my money because I want there to be someone to answer the phone when a newly out couple get shunned by their families and don’t know what to do. I want there to be someone there who’s capable of dealing with a crisis, and regardless of where the crisis is happening, be on the other end of an 0800 number; there and ready to listen.
But most importantly, I’m giving money to these organisations because I see and have seen the work they do for people firsthand. They’ve provided a place for me and my friends to go when we felt like outsiders, they’ve given me tools to help my friends in times of crisis; they’ve stopped my friends from killing themselves. So when these organisations asked, “Where’s The Funds?”, I didn’t think to hassle them or poke holes in their campaign. I simply asked, “Where do I sign?”
| Hannah JV