August 18th (that was Monday, for those calendar impaired readers) of 2002, The New York Times finally started letting queer couples print wedding and commitment ceremony announcements in their Weddings/Celebrations section. At the time, only 68 other papers nationwide printed these announcements.
Flash forward to the present: Today the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has announced that 1,049 papers nationally will print wedding announcements for queer couples. That’s a fifteen-fold increase in just six short years. Awesome.
We know how much it helps for the average person to hear personal stories about the queer and gender-variant communities. Minds change. Laws change. Life is good. Plus, if most folks are anything like my parents, whatever you read in print in a “real” (read: traditional, print source) newspaper or hear on the news is obviously the gospel truth (because we know all know newspapers only print the facts, right?). With Prop. 8 going on in California and equally craptastic legislation on the ballot elsewhere, this is obviously an important time to get this kind of individual activism going in our communities.
Because of this, GLAAD’s put together a great online resource to help you get started putting in a wedding announcement, mentioning you’re gay and happy in your company newsletter, or where ever else you think your story should be. There are downloads like the banner on the top of this post, AIM buddy icons, an interactive map of the country with information on inclusive policies at all the daily newspapers in the nation – you get the idea. You won’t see the word “queer” mentioned anywhere on the resource (unless it’s in an announcement you submit – hint, hint), but your identity is too cool for them anyway (the day the national orgs start throwing around genderqueer, genderfuck, etc., is the day I move on to a different identity descriptor).
How’d GLAAD do all this? Well, there was a dedicated albeit small team of fellows (ahem, cough, cough) and interns working very hard to call, and re-call, and call again, all of these newspapers to find out if they had inclusive policies. Most were friendly. A few weren’t. Overall, it was a fun and educational process.
In any case, check it out. Maybe download an AIM buddy icon for your instant messanger application of choice and make my day.