As three major cases have begun arguments in the Supreme Court of the United States regarding the rights of LGBTQ Americans, citizens everwhere are beginning to think more deeply about what true acceptance for queer people looks like. Now, a few of those people, who also happen to be musical artists, are taking the time to dissect what that really means.
In a new series of videos released by the Ad Council, Bea Miller, Gnash and MAX each teamed up with one of their personal friends who identifies as LGBTQ to have honest discussions about what real acceptance looks like. The new series is a part of the organization’s Beyond I Do campaign, which is aimed at raising awareness regarding the 30 states where it is still legal to discriminate against LGBTQ people and bring an end to it.
Framed as a contest, a la The Newlywed Game, each pair was presented with a statement or question and was asked to write down an answer to try and match with their partner. While the questions start out fun and simple, usually about the pair as friends, they quickly become more and more relevant to the issue at hand. One question, for example, posits: “What does discrimination look like?”
Miller answered the question by simply writing “Not receiving services,” and gave her friend Kennedi the floor to discuss the reality of being kicked out of a restaurant for being queer. “When we go on tour together, we could be playing a show, and they could say that I can’t eat in their restaurant. It’s crazy.”
When given the question “Why does the LGBT community need allies?,” MAX wrote down the answer “To influence others to be more open-minded.” He elaborated on his sentiment, saying that allies provide an opportunity to have real discussions with those who aren’t supportive. “There’s a lot of people out there who maybe just aren’t as open-minded about it,” he said. “It needs to be explained, and coming from someone that they feel safe with, that they feel close with will be the best way to make the most change.” His friend MuMu agreed, writing simply “Strength in #numbers.”
Gnash and his friend Ethan, meanwhile, were asked, “How have you seen inequality show up?” Gnash wrote down, “Bathroom signs,” and mentioned that he simply feels baffled when he sees binary bathrooms around the country. “Everywhere I go, guy bathroom, girl bathroom,” he said. “How hard is it to change a sign? You have to choose? What is that?” Meanwhile, Ethan referenced a specific moment when he and a man he was holding hands with were harrassed by a taxi driver. “Our taxi driver just took us not where we were supposed to be going and said, ‘Get out,'” he said. “If a straight couple got in that taxi, no one would bat an eye.”
For each of the pairs, though, the final card was not a question, but a statement that read, “In 30 states, it is legal to fire, evict or deny service to LGBT people.” Each of the pairs reacted with disgust to this fact, with Miller offering up the most succinct reaction when she wrote, “That doesn’t make sense.” Gnash agreed, offering a positive spin by writing, “I hope that’s not forever.” MAX, however, did not write an answer and instead said that it is the job of everyone everywhere to make change instead of waiting for it. “We can’t just expect these things to happen, or that someone else will speak up and protect the people we love,” he said. “We have to protect them.”
Watch each of the new videos from the Ad Council below, and learn more about Beyond I Do here.