Waymon Hudson

Karate Kick the Sissy Out of Your Son: Gay Panic as Advertising

Filed By Waymon Hudson | August 13, 2010 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Media
Tags: feminine boys, gay baiting, gay panic, karate, Lawrence King, Zubi

Editor's Note: Be sure to check out the update on this story, complete with my contact and conversations with both the Ad Agency and the Karate School: Karate/Sissy Ad Update: A Teachable Moment in Stereotypes, Gender Roles, & Shaming.

In what has to be the most offensive ad campaign I've seen in a long time, Key Biscayne's Academy Of Martial Arts RDCA in Florida has decided the best way to sell their karate classes is to use gay panic.

The print ads, created by ad agency Zubi, feature young boys doing "feminine things" like wearing their mother's high heels or playing with make-up. The cure for this "shocking" behavior and the best way to "man up" your obviously burgeoning queer kid?

Super butch Karate classes.

RDCAkarate2.jpg

These ads are more than just offensive, however. They are actually dangerous. Much more after the jump...

The blog at Miami New Times points out some glaring hypocrisy with the ad agency, Zubi:

RDCAkarate1.jpg

You know what's funny? When you go to Zubi's website they encourage you to "Erase stereotypes." Turns out they only means Hispanic stereotypes though. Apparently, you're still free to capitalize on gay stereotypes for advertising. How hypocritical.

Even more disturbing that the use of the gay-baiting of children or the rank hypocrisy of claiming to "break down stereotypes" while using them in the basest fashion is the very real danger of playing into gay panic and encouraging the bullying or harassment of what they see as "effeminate" boys (although to be clear- almost all boys play dress up. It has nothing to do with being gay). As Andy Towle at Towleroad points out, parents hurting or even killing their sons because they see them as too feminine are not unheard of.

Pedro Jones, 20, of South Hampton fatally beat a 17-month-old infant he was babysitting because the child was "acting like a girl, and not like a boy":

6a00d8341c730253ef013485f6131e970c-800wi.jpgJones was charged with first-degree manslaughter after allegedly hitting the boy 'several times throughout his body with close fists' and grabbed him by the neck, according to the felony complaint filed by police. Authorities say Jones also told them, 'I was trying to make him act like a boy instead of a little girl. I never struck that kid that hard before.' The infant, Roy A. Jones, was reportedly found in cardiac arrest and was rushed to Southampton Hospital where he died around 8:30 p.m."

Or who can forget the horrendous story of Lawrence King, the young kid who was shot in the head in class by a classmate after he wore make-up and heels to school- you know, just like the young boys who are featured in these ads and held up as something to be ridiculed, "toughened up", or harassed.

Those ads don't seem quite so clever or harmless now, do they...


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As someone who works in advertising, this is so tragic and painful to see. When I see things like this, it makes me question who is at the table when these concepts are created. Wasn't there someone who though "Huh, maybe this is a bad idea..."

Clearly, the ad firm behind this campaign needs a good smack. But since I'm against violence, I highly recommend that they immediately diversify their staff to include members of the LGBT community. Then they need to eat the tens of thousands they spent to create this concept and go back to the drawing board but not before issuing a statement of apology to the community.

Thanks for bringing awareness to this campaign Waymon.

OMG! Somehow parents were afraid of their son being so called name girly.. in fact parents would totally observed if there is any signs of development. Parents can enroll there children to any karate schools to take that girly out of their unico iho..kids karate houston

I actually just spent 16 minutes on the phone with someone from Zubi, and was quite surprised at how fantastic their response was. I really hope they are able to get a statement out to the public, because as disgusted as I was when I first started reading about this, and as disgusted with the ad in question as I *still* am (enough to pick up the phone and call them ready to put em in their place,) I think the ad agency itself, from the way they spoke to me on the phone, abhors the ad as much as we all do. Maybe someone from Bilerico could reach out to them? That'd be an interesting article..

I haven't been able to get through to them yet. I plan on continuing to try. What did they say to you about the ad? Didn't they create it or was it specifically ordered like this by the karate place? I'm curious as to what made you have such a positive response...

>> "I think the ad agency itself, from the way they spoke to me on the phone, abhors the ad as much as we all do."

And yet they went ahead and did them anyway.

Interesting.

Like some good advertising, the subtext is left up to the consumer. This way you keep your base very broad. So, in effect, it might technically bring together not only 'phobes who are worried that their kid is too faggy, but might also bring allies who have children who may be at risk of being bullied who may need the protection. Either way I think the ads are effective and well done. I immediately thought of myself doing those same things, and then getting beaten up as a young gayboy for being just that - and wishing I'd had the skills to kick some ass myself. So if it helps just one kid get some skills to protect himself, I say, YAY.

Great observation.

As a long time martial arts instructor and senior officer in a traditional martial arts organization and head of a system myself I have always supported inclusion and fought against stereotypes.
I think that LGBTQ people should get trained to protect themselves I recommend looking through the Triangle Martial arts site for inclusive schools or checking out the Shorin Goju site for more information on martial training.
I agree that the subtext is up to the consumer but this could very well play into phobias and it is going to depend on the school and the instructors there as to how inclusive and accepting the environment is. I always recommend to parents that they check a school out closely and get someone whom they trust who is a martial artists to check the school out.

As an update. I sent the head instructor some materials that I use in training martial arts instructors and that specifically deal with inclusion and LGBTQ issues. He has accepted them and thanked me for them.
It looks as if he has just been blindsided by this and is willing to engage about this and address the issues. Time will tell. But at this point I think that his staff has never dealt with these issues and just had no idea about them. I also think that he is going to be willing to fix this now that he knows that it is an issue. As an instrustor for instructors I want to see how this school responds to this new awareness of issues. The responses could be very positive.
These are the two things that he and his staff are starting with:
http://shorin-goju.yolasite.com/inclusion.php
http://shorin-goju.yolasite.com/lgbtq.php

Just spoke to the Agency behind the Karate/Sissy ads. Interesting side of the story. Working on follow-up blog...

I find it fascinating that Zubi's motto is "Erase Stereotypes" - and yet in this case it should be "Embrace Stereotypes."

The Ads are funny. They are not intended to hurt anyone. Lighten up - it's 2010.

ugh, Andrew. That's the kind of attitude that creates the atmosphere of shame, fear, and violence that effects our youth and our entire community.

Gender Shaming is not funny or cute.

"funny"? "lighten up"? You woudn't think that way if you were one of the thousands of young boys who are taunted, harrassed, beaten and excluded every day in our culture. I sincerely hope you never have children of your own or work with them in any way. God help them if you do.

As a martial arts instructor I have contacted the chief instructor at the school in question. I will get back to everyone on his responses. I have also provided him some training materials for martial arts instructors covering LGBTQ issues and inclusion.

"Pedro Jones, 20, of South Hampton fatally beat a 17-month-old infant he was babysitting because the child was "acting like a girl, and not like a boy."

There is something fu*ked up about Pedro Jones, not the Ads. What's next? The "Man Up" Ad Campaign by Miller Lite?

Learn to laugh. We're being used as "real" people in Ad campaigns. It starts conversation.

I'll lighten up when I stop getting called a sissy and faggot while bottles or fists get thrown at me.

This isn't "using us a real people." And the only conversation to be had is why this is unacceptable and how it effects things like the extremely high suicide rate among LGBT youth.

Are you kidding? The high suicide rate for LGBT teens is RELIGION, not advertisements.

I have a question for you? Would you like to - someday - see an Ad that has a boy in heels or playing with his mother's make-up and nobody notices? Or a man having a beer while wearing a skirt or clutching a purse (carryall) and nobody cares?

I think these ads create conversation and that's a good thing When we inflate our "outrage" for these things we seem as backwards as fanatical Christians. There are other things to spend your outrage on. Advertisements that INTEND humor and evoke conversation are helpful, not hurtful.

LGBT-Up, please.

You're right- we should just shut up and take it.

Please, Andrew- "having a conversation" does not mean we have to agree with your "it's just funny, lighten up" take on these ads. By completely invalidating the reaction of people that disagree with you and the experiences that led them to that reaction, you show just how narrow you're viewpoint is.

I am all for taking a joke and even political incorrectness, but gender shaming, using children as gay baiting jokes, and encouraging young gender queer people to feel ashamed about themselves is simply not funny to me. You may feel it is, but I don't And neither do many of the other commenters who have been on the receiving end of gender identity-based violence.

There is a direct correlation to pop culture, media representations, and ads to shaping the views on LGBT people. To say otherwise, or claim it is "only religion", is to simply fool yourself or stick your head in the sand.

If these ads featured these kids breaking boards or doing something that made them the strong character instead of the victims of ridicule that need to be "straightened up", OI might see the point. But they don't. They show effeminate boys who need be made "normal." It's not funny, cute, or productive to our cause.

I see some of your points Andrew but I am leaning towards Waymon on this. I poked around and it appears that the RDCA website is now down and the Facebook Fan Page only boasts a little over 200 fans. I think something this edgy would have worked had it been a more established brand. I'm going to go with the notion that the organization made a mistake and it was the wrong direction for them. I'm assuming that they see this now and I'm guessing that they will retract the campaign and issue an apology. They are not established enough to pull off a message like this. May be if they had the type of Fan following like Steven Slater, it would have worked.

You intentionally miss the point Waymon. Just because you wake up every day looking for a fight, doesn't mean the rest of us do. These Ads didn't intend any harm and they are actually helpful because people are talking.

While you want to attack everyone, some of us want to engage everyone. Get over the anger.

From your earlier comment - how often are you "called a sissy and faggot while bottles or fists get thrown at me." Is that another of your exaggerations? Bigoted Christians hiding around the corner?

I understand that you are in "attack" mode. It my be helpful if you give some thoughtful consideration to something before you pounce on the "enemy" (your perception).

You deny the progress we've made and you act like the fanatical Christians you despise by imitating them. It isn't worth it. I'm not angry at the Karate Shop or the Ads. Are you?

I like how you counter any of what Waymon says and refrain from simply going after him as a person.....
oh wait, that's the polar opposite of what you did. Strange. For someone so bent on accusing others of "being angry" or "looking for a fight", you're the only one who is actually going after people personally and refraining from discussing the ad. You keep saying it generates a conversation, yet you're refusing to be part of that conversation (I'll also note that I don't feel like a conversation that preaches to the choir really counts but so be it). You see the problem with that...don't you?
Aside from here, where is this really going to generate a conversation?


Allow me to be blunt: You want a conversation? Then have the bloody conversation, and stop attacking (to use your own word) anyone who isn't in your line of thought.

The "conversation" I speak of is in the world - not with Waymon. When Ads like this run people talk - that is an opportunity for us to engage, enlighten and enroll.

Yes, I have mentioned that I believe Waymon seeks targets. He does it with religious nuts all the time. I question whether or not that behavior is productive. In an earlier comment Waymon suggested that I said "what, we're just supposed to take it?" Take what? The benefit of those images - in the long run - is much more important than childish angry protest. Those Ads evoke conversations, not (necessarily) fights. But, I know some people feel valuable by fighting. I don't. I prefer progress.

I want to see more Ads like that. They are an opportunity, not an attack from "enemies" some of us wish to continue to empower because it makes our efforts valid. That's too short-sighted for me.

You keep saying this starts conversations....but it doesn't. Just because you keep screaming that it does, doesn't mean that it does.
"Oh people see it and will talk about it"...You really believe that? You REALLY think that the average reaction will be a discussion of why "this is A-ok" and not "Ha ha, look at the faggy kid"?
You're either highly optimistic, or frighteningly deluded.


As for your bigoted ranting about religion: Do, please, get over it. First off, I said you need to make the distinction between religION and religIOUS. You, for whatever reason, then turn back on me asking about the latter, as if I ever contested that.
There are PLENTY of pro-gay churches out there. You know that as well as anyone.
You are the one constantly yelling about how evil religion is...but you're wrong. Religion, except in very VERY rare cases, never attacks us.
The Bible? Pretty damn silent on gays unless you seriously warp the text to fit an anti-gay message.

Religion is NOT the reason for the bigotry these people fire off, it's the excuse. It's the cover up for a bigotry they already held for X, Y, or Z reason. It's outright ridiculous to say that religion is the birth of anti-LGBT sentiment. Especially given that, assumedly, you think religion is man-made...which would mean the anti-LGBT sentiment that (you allege) is there would have to have existed beforehand.
So no, sorry, but you saying "Religion has branded homosexuality. That's a fact" isn't actually a fact. It's your crusade against the wrong target.
You want to go for the root of the problem? Go after the people who rape their own Holy Book in a sad attempt to justify their bigotry.

Oops, this was meant to go after the next comment-string down. Hit the wrong button.

"You want to go for the root of the problem? Go after the people who rape their own Holy Book in a sad attempt to justify their bigotry."

So, it's not that religion teaches the anti-gay "beliefs," it's just some people misinterpret the "Holy Book."

Pro-Gay Churches? Which of these churches or denominations has formally rejected the traditional belief that homosexuals are wrong? Surely, out of the 2,300 different Christian denomination there must be at least a few that have formally rejected that belief. Not just hiring homosexuals or hanging a rainbow flag, but the actual rejection of that centuries old teaching. Name them.

Sorry Sam. That's a "Pastoral Letter" suggesting that we shouldn't "condemn anyone." It is not the official doctrine of UCC, in fact, UCC has a program called "Open and Affirming" which has been embraced by only 7% of their churches.

No Christian denomination has ever formally rejected the teaching/belief that "homosexuals are wrong, sinful and deviant."

Perhaps because your standard is stupid?

You don't "formally reject" something you never said, just because somebody else who looks similar did. There are plenty of Christian people who never believed any of that crap; there are churches that don't teach it and that teach the opposite, too, but I don't have any need for this "official" stuff.

That's not a real apology. You're just saying it to look good. I roll my eyes when people do that--I certainly don't demand that they do.

Wow. That's what I get for actually engaging with you, Andrew. I've always done my best to be respectful of you and try to talk (even off the blog by personal email), even when others write you off. But after that comment, and the way you seem to want to attack me personally rather than discusses the topic at hand, I understand how they feel.

First, I do want to fight- I want to fight bigotry, hatred, discrimination, and all the things that keep us from fully taking our place in society as equal individuals. Does that make me angry or childish? No- it makes me determined. And realistic. And an activist.

As for "engaging in conversation"- you seem to think repeating yourself over and over is a conversation. It's not. Just like the way you show up on every post and repeat claims of throwing money to anyone who can magically solve all our communities problems (at least to your liking, which you never define), you simply parrot the same thing over and over and call it debate. You want to talk about dialogue? What have you done? I've been on the phone with the ad agency trying to educate them about the issue with this ad and why many are finding it offensive. I've also started a real conversation by posting about it here on Bilerico. All you've done is tell people to stop being childish and get over it. Which is more productive?

And as for your low-class "another exaggeration" comment: I've been very open about my past, what I've experienced (both with discrimination and actual violence). I put my name and face out there for our cause everyday. By making my life and activism public, I've dealt with things you can't even imagine. You want to attack others from behind a made up name with anonymous postings on blogs? Feel free. But I think I'll take my advice on how to engage from others who aren't afraid to actually do things and put themselves on the line rather than just criticize from the safety of their keyboard.

I rarely get angry on this blog, but your comments, and the disrespect you have shown me and this forum when I have always tried to reach out to you, have pushed me over the edge.

I fully expect for you to rant and rave about this comment and attack me personally some more after this, but I won't be engaging. I'll save my conversation and debate for others who actually want to make a difference or expand ideas.

When I said "conversation" it is meant in the context of those Ads creating conversation outside the LGBT Community.

Just because I said you were looking for a fight every day (which you just confirmed) I wouldn't take that as a "personal attack." Other people calling you names has nothing to do with me - or Ads with a 5 year old in heels.

Most of your writing is about exposing the "enemy" by exposing their words or (now) advertisements. Yet, you deny the real enemy - religion. The "belief" that we are wrong, sinful and deviant is planted at a young age by religion - not advertisers.

Your exaggerated claim of being a victimvictims see victimization - even if it isn't there.

It's cute how you talk about "not attacking" and simply having a conversation...yet your posts have effectively degenerated into "RELIGION IS EVIL!" with little to no basis or backing.
How does that work? How does attacking a person's belief system(s) get them to come around to your way of thinking? You yourself have mentioned how fighting/arguing gets in the way of conversation, well the same can be said about your rather blatant bigotry. You're not going to have a conversation with anyone even vaguely religious if you consistently sit there bashing on it.

Matthew, I never said "Religion is evil," as you have suggested. If I did, please show me where.

I did say religion teaches that homosexuality is "wrong, sinful and deviant." That applies to the Abrahamic religions primarily, as several have confirmed in these comments.

Religion is a discussion for another time. Please don't misrepresent my comments. Plus, you "belief system" has nothing to do with our equality.

Oh do, please, explain how they're funny. I'm genuinely curious how blatant gender role enforcement/shaming is actually funny and not pathetically immature.
I could even go so far as to understand you not seeing why these have the potential to be so offensive or dangerous...but to label them funny is just....seriously? In what world?

Why do I get the feeling you'd prefer to make excuses for phobic BS like this, rather than combat it?

Yea, except this doesn't create conversation, at least not outside of our proverbial choir. The ads are very clearly saying "Karate is the way to get your boy out of heels".
Where's the conversation?
Do you REALLY think people will see these and start talking about how the kid should be allowed to wear heals? Because I don't see that being the typical effect of an ad like this. This isn't a particularly heinous ad in itself, it's just more of the same old crap we always see but that doesn't make it right either.
So an ad that intends to be funny, is automatically funny? Is that the answer you're giving to explain why this is funny? Because I'm still not seeing it. The ONLY reason this is presented as funny is because it's a boy acting outside of what he "should be". That's where the humor is being drawn from and, yes, that's a problem.
There's plenty of "intended jokes" that do harm. Saying "they're just being funny" doesn't wipe that damage away. Repeating how this "generates conversation" doesn't make it so, and still doesn't excuse the issue itself.

As for your dragging religion into this...find a different horse to beat. There's a difference between the religion itself, and the people who absolutely rape the text in order to discriminate. There are VERY few religions that actively promote anything that would lead to what you're saying it does.
But that's an argument for another day. I'm just hopping on a personal pet peeve with that one.

No, Matthew it does create conversation "outside of our proverbial choir." That's the point. "Others" see that Ad and they talk about it. Maybe they realize that all children are not born the same Maybe they realize that's okay. To NOT talk about this is the problem.

As far as "bringing religion into this," what Christian denominations have formally rejected the traditional Christian belief that we are wrong, sinful and defective?" Make a list.

Religion has branded homosexuality. That's a fact. It is our responsibility to re-brand ourselves. That makes these Ads helpful. There is NOTHING WRONG with a boy trying on his mothers heels or playing with her makeup, nothing. Don't you agree?

Angela Brightfeather | August 13, 2010 5:42 PM

Andrew,
These adds are not only NOT FUNNY, they are reminicent and haunting of a time in my life when I feared talking to my parents to let them know how I really felt and how concerned I was. They strike a chord in my heart that made me keep my secret for fear of being tunred oveer to the state of New York or a psychiatrist who could of hit me with a few sessions of EST at the tendser age of these young boys.

If you think that kind of advertising is funny, I hope we meet sometime so that I can threaten you a little and see how funny you think it is then. As with a few other thoughts and views you have displayed on Bilerico, it is apparent that you just don't have a clue.

The world is not out to get us Angela. As much as you'd like to believe that, it isn't true. Taboos disappear as they become part of the mainstream conversation. While I agree that homosexuality never should have been a taboo, it is religion that did that.

I want to see more commercials that highlight and question gender differences. If you insist in over-reacting and getting angry - it's your choice. They don't offend me. I see them as an interesting opportunity to converse, not simply condemn.

I do understand the reading of these images which is homophobic and offensive. But I think the image is far more complex than this.

On the one hand the image publicly displays the genderqueer behavior of these young boys with a caption recommending Karate lessons. The question lies in how does the image's status as Karate lessons advertisement relate to the image's genderqueer content? A homophobic/heteronormative reading of the image, one assuming that girly boys need to "man up," operates by subordinates the image to the caption, and content to the form...and consequently the privileges the masculine over the feminine and heterocentric over the queer.

But look again. Doesn't our genderplaying young boy take center stage? Isn't the caption merely a footnote? Why can't sissies still be badass?

Actually we can, they called me sissy boy in 4th and 5th grade and I went on to be a fighter and competitor and was put in the HOF a decade ago. We just need to make sure that kids out there understand that they can be as fem or genderqueer as they want and still be safe and still be confidently secure.

I'm glad you could see that Jordan. It is a shame when people look for something bad, instead of trying to see possibility.

Hey, but how many of us were sent to karate (or tae kwon do) lessons to man up when our parents thought we were too girly? They know their client base.

I suppose another way to look at it would be: "Hey, I've taken karate lessons -- and yeah, I wear high heels. Wanna make something of it?"

Exactly. Eventually (we can hope) the image will just be accepted. There is much more to it than getting angry. When we are always trying to pick a fight we look as stupid as fanatical Christians.

That's just it though. "Eventually". We don't have the luxury of living in your desired future. We live in a world where, yes, the ad is making fun of the kid (hell, the fact that even the staffers that have been discussed in the comments section have expressed disgust so I think that says where the intent wound up).
We're a 'rare breed' so to speak. The bulk of us on this blog come at things from a perspective different from 'the norm'. Sit back a second and really think about how someone who isn't versed in feminist/queer theory is going to view an ad like this. We can read any deep meaning we want to it, and that's entirely valid, but that isn't likely to be the reading that the majority aligns itself to.

I think it's interesting that you keep saying people who are bothered by this ad are "picking a fight". I'd like to know how you expect the world to change for the better if people don't 'pick a fight'. The only way for a conversation to begin is for someone to call attention to the subject and, simultaneously, start the conversation! At best, this ad does the former without the latter.
By sitting back, and not calling an issue out for what it is, we allow things to remain as they are. Why is that better?

Conversation doesn't require a "fight," in fact, fighting doesn't allow conversation.

Waymon looks for bad behavior so he can scold people. You are doing the same. Don't expect people to be in the same place you are - they are growing. We should help them grow, not dismiss them.

Andrew, my comment was meant as a joke. There's no way you can draw that out of these ads, sorry.

But I'm still intruiged to hear what the agency and the school have to say about them. I wonder who's gonna point the finger at the other first. I dont find them outrageously annoying, but I think the work is first-pass and had all of ten minutes of creative thought behind it, which means we're probably the only bunch that even noticed them at all. These are strictly designed to be cute enough to be noticed for an ad award... which it'll never get.

Pointing fingers? I get it.

The biggest shame about these ads is that, with less than a sentence's worth of text, they could be groundbreaking and positive. Without the addition of a little context, they come off as saying "Here's an issue, let us help you fix it".

A small tagline, like the one Sean mentioned, is all it would take to flip these on their heads. Hell, if we're going to draw humor from gender policing then let's at least do it by way of intentional subversion of the "rules."

Sadly, Matthew, that requires copywriters and creative directors who can actually think... something in very short supply in this field these days. I mean, hell, look at the layout: you can barely find the name of the client, let alone figure out what's being sold here. This could be an ad for PayLess shoes, for all we know, because the important information is so buried in the visual.

Shoddy, shoddy work.

...I need to get in touch with Payless. You may or may not have just given me an idea where I could make some serious cash by way of reusing this type of image to sell shoes. Hello paydirt.

Meanwhile, the ads in their "What's this got to do with anything?" approach remind me of a (growing old) Lewis Black joke about super bowl commercials:
"Three rabbits are sitting on a log, one goes home and hangs himself. Buy a bike!"
When did ads stop actually, ya know, advertising?

Bullies will think he's an easy target.
Bullies will be wrong.
RDCA Academy of Martial Arts

If somebody just lolcatted that caption over each of these ads, they'd transform from offensive to awesome in a matter of seconds.

If someone is interested in our continued progress, they would view these Ads as a welcome sign. If, on the other hand, someone wants to fight they could see the Ad as offensive.

The Ads are harmless unless you decide making them appear that way serves your purpose. If you are always looking to slay dragons, then that's what you see. But, if you decide to see these Ads as a possibility to engage, educate and enroll - we can make progress.

This whole idea that we have to interfere with the cultural conversation is stupid. It is always better to PARTICIPATE in that conversation, not just complain. The more we participate, the better we do.

If that were the case, fine. But it's not. There's nothing here to engage in, Andrew: just a facile joke that really isnt all that funny. There's nothing here that educates, just a piss-poor concept that's not very well executed and depends on sensationalism more than anything else.

I mean, please -- go to the article about these. From what I can glean, these were created without the academy's authorization as a shock/jock ad approach to get the agency some business -- assuming, that is, that the commentator from the academy was really from the academy... which may be doubtful, considering how inane *his* comment was. Still, for now, that's what we have to work with. You wanna tell me where the "education" is behind that? Frankly, none of this really makes a whole lot of sense: an earlier poster says the agency isnt real proud of what they did -- even though they created it anyway -- and the client is saying they didnt authorize it -- even though it must have appeared in print somewhere for the Miami Herald to get wind of it. It's like everyone's suddenly distancing themselves from what they now see as a bad conceptual move.

Sorry, bud -- if anyone's grasping here, it's you, trying to defend a basically indefensible series of pretty bad ad work.

David Andrew | August 13, 2010 11:43 PM

It amazes me that anyone is defending this ad campaign. The arguments against it are better articulated than I can attempt to put in my two cents but let me try. The arguments against it are more valid than those who agree with the ad campaign. The commentator "Andrew" who is so vehement in his support and blames only Religion for LGBTQ suicides leads me to believe that some of us (and this is good) have had no diversity in their lives and therefore have on rose colored glasses to the experiences I guess a majority of LGBTQ have had. Good for you!! For having a charmed life. For the rest of us our truths of experience should not be discounted by you saying we just want to fight. As a sissy boy whose parents had Gay-Panic and eventually Institutionalized me at 14 for three years to turn me straight with Depo-Provera chemical castration and aversion therapy towards homosexual desires my experience colors my perceptions of what this ad campaign can do to society. Please google Aversion Therapy. This was 1984 in the USA. And only in 2006 was it considered as unethical by the medical establishment. This action by my parents was just the icing on a long childhood of what ads like this cause. I hope you can think on my experience and opinion and perhaps rethink your position. If still not swayed then google gay conversion for adolescents and see that parents are sending sissies to Mexico to do to them what happened to me.

If religion doesn't create those LGBT teen suicides, what does? Religion is the ONLY institution that teaches homosexuality is wrong, sinful and deviant. Who or what else does that?

Of course I defend the Ad campaign, it's called freedom of speech. I do not defend religion - do you? If so, why?

Why do I defend religion?

Because people like you like to scapegoat it, mostly. Because, for whatever reason, it gives people something positive in their lives when it's used correctly.

Because people like you never seem to grasp the fact that religion doesn't attack us. Very rarely is there a religion that exists that attacks any particular group.
You mistake the bastardizations made by a few failure-followers, for actual tenants of the faith, and that's a massive problem.

Gee, here's a novel idea: How about you actually prove that religion attacks us.
And note the word I used: Religion. Don't hand me any BS about the followers and their bastardizations of the text. Give me cold, hard doctrine. The followers are far too varied for you to label them all with one stroke, and you know that.


You want to know what causes these suicides? Bigotry. Cold and simple. Do you REALLY think that religion is the reason that Dobson and his ilk go after the LGBT community? Do you honestly think that if religion didn't exist, they wouldn't find some other excuse for their bigotry?

Actually, wait a second, back the hell up.
You defend the ad because of freedom of speech? But you don't defend religion, despite 'freedom of religion' coming from the same place (hell, same exact place) as freedom of speech?....
Ok, explain that one.
We're entitled to say whatever we want, and you'll defend that. But when it comes to believing whatever we want...not so much?

Um...doesn't the former kind of require the latter, to an extent? In order to say what we want, we have to be able to believe what we want so...

Just wanted to insert in here that religion should not automatically mean Christianity or even any kind of Abrahamaism. There are many other faiths around and most of them are not particularly homophobic.

Examples please. Raelians do not count.

Historically, most ancient religions, going all the way back to Sumer and probably earlier, had zero issue with us. In Sumer, we were celebrated as gifts from the gods. Hell, the oldest piece of written literature -- the Epic of Gilgamesh -- is all about the loyalty, even after death, of a couple of guys who really liked to get it on with each other.

Then a bunch of rabid religious conservatives who didnt like Rome and didnt like Greece got their knickers in that proverbial knot and started the whole anti-gay thing. Thanks, Paul. Love like a sister, ya sexist homophobe.

Most Native Americans traditionally didnt believe gays are evil -- this is where the whole two-spirit concept comes from. It wasnt until the influence of Christianity that that started to change.

Today, most Far Eastern religions -- Shintoism, Buddhism, and the like -- dont consider homosexuality a sin. Somehow they've managed to elude the Christian onslaught that says otherwise. Deists -- the faith of the Founding Fathers, BTW -- see us as just part of Nature's plan.

I have no doubt there are more.

Yes, your biggies -- Christianity, Judaism, and Islam -- look at us and cringe. Their loss, as far as I'm concerned. I dont need their Bible or their Torah or their Koran to have a good relationship with what I consider the Creator. But that's another post for another time.

Exactly. The Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) made homosexuality wrong for centuries. Those teachings/beliefs have branded us.

A few Christian denominations are splitting because of us - Episcopalians, Lutherans and Presbyterians. One of these days a Christian denomination will formally reject the anti-gay doctrine. If not, they'll continue to lose membership.

You keep saying this, but never justify it. How, exactly, did the RELIGION make it wrong? In order for the topic to be labeled 'wrong' within the religion, wouldn't the idea have already had to exist somewhere, in order to be assimilated into the religion?

Well, okay, not sure if this is the answer you're looking for, but...

The Hebrew religion got antsy with us because, to be blunt, it needed cannon fodder for the various "wars" it engaged in with all of its neighbours in a quest for land and animals and child-breaing females. It was all about making the population grow, as fast as possible... and fags and lezzies just werent gonna help the cause any. As such, it became a sin -- not because God says so, but because Man *needed* God to say so. And the tradition just sorta stuck, because everyone wanted to believe that this came from the Holy Steno Pool. Then Christ comes along and says "Look, get real. Itr's all about loving your neighbour and respecting the Lord, and that's it." But that wasnt good enough for the followers of Saint Paul, who had a serious issue with not only gays but women as well. And because he was Christ's "rock upon which I shall build My Church", what he said, went, no matter how absurd.

Since then, because of some sexist little homophobe, we've become the church's scapegoat. When things go wrong, for whatever reason, it's God's punishment because of teh gays.

Some branches of Buddhism, some Taoists, most Wiccans, some Norse Traditionalists, Sinsearacdh or Gnath na sinsear peoples, many Gaelic Traditionalists and modern Neo-Druidic groups. Shinto traditionally accepted it historically in though for a period in the 20th century with more contact with Western cultures it started to be frowned upon but that view is changing again in Japan. Haitian Vodun generally does not bar homosexuals from participation as for West African and diaspora Vodun it really goes ethnic group by ethnic group as to which ones find homosexuality acceptable.
There are also various other Tribal and ethnic faiths which accept homosexuality, bisexuality and transgendered people and gender-queer people. Numerous American tribal cosmic religions find various genders and sexualities acceptable but again it goes tribe by tribe. I am proud to say that my own Gaelic tribal unit sees these as natural states for some people, though we know that generally among the Sinsearachd peoples it is acceptable there are a few groups here and there who have been heavily influenced by Christianity and Deoraid (stranger) culture and do not accept it. There is a common claim made that all Gaelic Traditionalists are homophobes and racists and that claim has been made widely by a woman who leads Celtic Recon organizations but it is a baseless claim, considering I know most of the leaders for the various Tribes and larger families in the US, Ireland, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand and she does not I would say that the fact that so many of them have LGBTQ members and leaders whom I know her claim is incorrect.

Meghan Stabler Meghan Stabler | August 14, 2010 12:20 AM

This ad campaign is disgusting. This is not progressing the acceptance of stereotypes or moving the needle on acceptance of gender / orientation at all. Do you know just how many gender variant people this type of ad impacts? Sheesh. Angela and I may not see eye-to-eye on somethings, but this one is definitely there.

If you were a child who is questioning and happen to see this ad, what message does it send you?

If you were a closed-minded parent seeing this ad, and knowing that you child is displaying tendencies, what message does it send you?

Attention must be made to the company that produced the ad and the message to help them understand the potential impact this has.

Oh, if anyone would like an example of adult intolerance to "difference" just read the past weeks news;

"Man kills 17-month-old boy for 'acting like a girl'"

"An apparent case of brutal violence on Long Island, where police have charged a man with killing a 17-month-old boy. Police say they arrived on the scene to find the toddler in cardiac arrest. The boy died in a hospital shortly later."

Ad's like these need to stop. People who produce these need to be educated.

,i>"If you were a child who is questioning and happen to see this ad, what message does it send you?"

That I wasn't alone.

It's too easy to turn everything into a negative. Stop fighting and start educating. It's much more effective.

Then gee, why don't you start educating us on why you think this is actually generating conversations, rather than just reinforcing the same crap we see constantly. I'd LOVE to see that, especially considering I've asked you repeatedly and have yet to get anything even vaguely akin to an answer.

It isn't "too easy" to "turn this into a negative". The ad does that all by itself.
What's apparently easy, at least for you, is to come up with any number of excuses for this gender-policing bullcrap. Maybe you're the more enlightened one and the rest of us just aren't catching on. If that's the case, kudos to you. But, don't you think that maybe, just maybe, the fact that most in this thread are responding poorly to this ad is a sign that it isn't just "finding a reason to be pissed" and more of a "Those of us who see through the crap understand that the vast majority of people are going to take this as a "ha ha, silly sissy"-moment rather than a teaching moment".
And if you are the one who is right, then wouldn't it make sense to take your own advice (conversation, education, participation (all your own words here)) and do so in this thread? Educate on why this ad is funny, and how the AVERAGE person (who, sorry, no, is not versed in gender theory and isn't likely to see it through such a lens no matter how much you pretend otherwise) is going to "have a teaching moment" in regards to this ad.
Maybe we'll all get somewhere if that happens. Until then, you've just been repeating "This is funny, this starts a conversation, and you all suck for disagreeing with me (written as: You're all just trying to pick a fight, you're just negative, you're fanatics...and other stuff that isn't coming to memory immediately)" and that's not helping anyone see your point.

It is helpful to let the cultural conversation happen, not interfere with it as "victims." I frankly do not care what anyone in the LGBT Community thinks of the karate-kid Ads or the Miller Lite Ads. What people outside of our community think and to the extent THEY have conversations about it, THAT is helpful. If these Ads have people talking, they are helpful

Our community is divided (witness the comments) between always crying "wolf," or seeing these Ads as an opportunity to educate, enlighten and enroll.

Sorry, but one person (you) versus the rest of the group is not "a community divided". Not by a WIDE margin.
And again, you dodge the question posed to you: HOW is this generating conversation? Where?
You keep saying this is an education opportunity but you've been asked multiple times now to explain how and have, on each such occasion, flat out refused to do so.
I'm calling bullshit.

Paige Listerud | August 14, 2010 1:35 AM

Complaining to the advertisers or the company that created this ad campaign is just the first step to subverting these kinds of homophobic images.

Someone with Photoshop skills should steal this image and revamp it. Take out the Karate School logo and put some kind of statement of their own:

"Fabulous at Five!"

Because you know what? That kid looks great in those cherry red heels.

Great idea and if I had those sorts of computer skills I would do that and slap an add for my style of karate which is accepting and would be fine if this kids shows up to class in lipstick though he couldn't work out in the high heels just because that is a bad idea for anyone.

I hope that nobody gets the impression from Andrew's comments that all atheists are like that. I agree with y'all saying that to the general, uneducated public this is a 'ha ha, sissy boy' moment. I have a lot of experience of people like that living in the bible belt for many of my adolescent years as an atheist lesbian. I couldn't get out because my dad was stationed there in the AF and it got so bad my mom pulled me out of school and homeschooled me. Sorry got a little off-topic there, I can't really help it I just get worked up thinking about it. Anyway I do believe that religion used in the correct way can be helpful for some people. I myself practice the pagan arts, only using the goddess as an icon and not a factual being. Sometimes in your life the only religious people you ever know are the nutcases who are against gays. I grew up that way, the only Christians I knew were Evangelical crazies. Of course I gained unlimited access to the Internet and educated myself on the fact that some Christians are loving and accepting. It's not my way but it is the way for some people.
And I suggest that everyone just ignores Andrew unless he actually starts giving reasons not just spewing the same stuff over and over again, dancing around refusing to answer the actual question. He'll likely get bored without a reaction. You can't get everyone to see reason.

I'm not an Atheist.

What "question" am I refusing to answer?

I am curious to know, what you consider yourself? Since you are so vehemently against religion it comes across that you are an atheist. Perhaps I misenterpreted your comments.

Which of my comments suggest that I am "vehemently against religion?" I've simply acknowledged what others have confirmed in these comments - religion made homosexuality wrong. Religion teaches that to young children.

That's an objective comment about religion.

I am not presumptuous enough to suggest to anyone that I know the meaning of life, where we came from or where we are going. I don't know. Nobody knows. And, I'm okay with that.

I think how we live is much more important than believing in stories. Most religions are based on stories that require we surrender part of who we are. It's clever. In fact, if religion wasn't invented already, I'd probably start one.

Um...who confirmed that it was "religion" that made homosexuality wrong? Cuz I don't see that, and reality says otherwise. A person made it wrong, not a faith. They may have manipulated faith to push their belief, but the belief already existed BEFORE the religious end of it. Therefore, religion did not create the issue, it was merely used to push it.
There is a massive difference.
Saying that it's objective to claim that "religion made homosexuality wrong" is like saying that it's objective to claim that the sky is blue because of magic. It's not. It's subjective at best. Please stop trying to blame religion for our problems. There are plenty of people who don't use religion as their shield after all.

This ad is definitely a phobic piece of crap. As for those who say, "It's 2010," and, "Lighten up!," this is serious; it's not something to simply be brushed aside.

If a company would like to encourage LGBTQ people to learn self defense, they should probably create an ad that's a little less offensive to LBGTQ and less homophobic and actually make their intentions known. "So, you don't want your kid to be a pussy. We have the answer," is a prominent message to be derived from this ad. There is also the less obvious "Protect your feminine little boy" vibe, which would probably only be picked up on by people who were compassionate enough to not go home and beat their gayboy to death.

The Larry King shooting happened ten miles away from my house. It may seem insignificant to some people who like to ignore the fatal shooting of an eighth grade student, but it's anything but something to be belittled. It's not funny to encourage homophobia, because people die over this sort of thing. This ad further enforces the already longstanding stereotype that gay people are unacceptable, not "real" men (we're all real humans), and that they need the gay whipped out of them.

People die because of these types of stereotypes and ideologies that encourage "true manliness." These types of ads are not ok.

Andrew -

You seem to be missing a point about advertising. Ads depend on social tropes to make their point. The require split-second recognition with something that is already ingrained by the viewer. They are, by their nature, NOT intended for discussion or deeper analysis on the part of the viewer.

While some ad campaigns MAY (rarely) do this, it is not at all common to do so when marketing a product. So, when looking at these images, it is a safe bet to examine them within the context of the dominate culture - one that is sexist, homophobic, and anti-trans. Within that context the images simply repeat "girly-boy can be fixed by sports/violence"

This is even more pronounced because there is no text with the images to deconstruct this message. A trope unchallenged is by default reinforced.

What does want to dress like the opposite sex have to do with being gay? Just because heterosexist society says so? Homosexuality can not exist so a gay man can only want to be a woman?

Having said so, this add is offensive to sissy boys, or to transexuals. That is wrong. As it is wrong and offensive of some people in the gay community to imply sissy means gay. Heterosexuals can be sissy, gay men can be masculine: it is an entire different concept.

It has to do with gender and how it's expressed. The biggest reason behind homo/transphobia comes down to gender role enforcement/sexism. Gay men are men who go outside of their expected gender role/expression, by simple way of dating other men.

The ads aren't just offensive to the 'sissy' category. They're offensive to anyone who crosses the "line" in terms of how they express themselves. Homo/transphobia are simply the most obvious, most surface, readings of ads like this.

Anyone who claims child abuse is ok in any fashion deserves to be prosecuted. God forbid, if any abuse takes place I hope it can be covered under the Mathew Shepard Act!!!!!

many blessings to the children who will be hurt by this outrage....

Robyn Webb, CTS | August 14, 2010 2:21 PM

It would seem that Andrew W might wish to avail himself of the services offered by the martial arts advertiser before venturing out into the community. Heaven forbid he should take an ass kicking from a trans woman or gay man resulting from his obstinate ignorance.

PanoramaIsland | August 14, 2010 3:55 PM

What's up with this being labeled "gay-bashing?" It's gender enforcement, plain and simple. It could just as easily be crossdresser-bashing or trans-bashing, or simply femme-/andro-bashing. It's also implicitly patriarchal. I don't see how the "gay" aspect of it is any more prominent than the other aspects of this despicable piece of gender enforcement.

Andrew--

I have a couple points after reading your posts.

First, though I do not want to piss of Matthew et al, for I also agree with them, I agree with you that religion, though not the only player when it comes to the homophobia/transphobia field, are one of the biggest players. And frequently, even homo/transphobic groups who claim to have no religious affiliation will quote the bible when pressed to state WHY they are taking the stance that they do -- of course, to state this really proves the point of Matthew et al that the people to blame are those who twist the words of the Bible than religion as a whole, more than it proves my own point haha.

You asked Matthew and some others to cite specific Christian denominations that are open-minded and have rejected the notion that homosexuality is "wrong", and since they have not complied, I figure I'll step up to the plate. Off the top of my head, some open denominations include:

Unitarian Universalist (I have a lot of personal GLBT friends who are UUs)

United Church of Christ

Congregational Churches

vs. some of the most homophobic,


Baptist

Catholic

Church of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon)

Please note that I understand that I paint a broad stroke here; I don't deny that there may well be, somewhere, an open-minded Baptist church or a very discriminatory UU church.

Next, I'd like to say, personally, that while your posts tend to show that you are smart, thoughtful, and passionate, frankly, as a male-to-female transsexual woman, your posts display little understanding or sympathy towards the plight of transgender/gender-defying people in your seeming inability to see HOW, to SOME of us, the messages, and implications in this ad are hurtful. Gawd knows I agree with you that ads have the potential to created dialogues and get people talking, especially if they're political ads, but ads also feature a decided spin on thier subject. This one implies that a girl who has any sort of feminine manner (I refuse to use the term "sissy"; every time I do, I throw up a bit in my mouth) needs to do something, in this case, take karate classes to "man" him up, which IMPLIES that there is something "wrong" with the femme boy, which is complete bullshit. Whether or not that femme boy grows up to be gay, transsexual, genderqueer or in some other way, transgender, or even if it's a phase, there is nothing wrong with being a femme boy. An ad featuring offering karate to the same femme boy as a means to protect himself sends a much different message, but still the ad has potential to get people talking.

I can respect that you think the ad is funny, though I do not agree -- I think the ad is anything BUT funny -- all I ask is that instead of trying to make me think that it is, respect the fact that I find that ad insulting and hurtful to gender-defying boys.

I appreciate your comment. But, the denominations you reference HAVE NOT formally rejected the traditional Christian belief that homosexuality is wrong. Unitarian Universalists are not Christians.

Several denominations have "accepted" or agreed to "tolerate" homosexuals, but non have rejected the belief/teaching that has harmed us so much. Not one.

There is a growing divide amongst Christians regarding us and the literal interpretation of the bible. They are splitting.

I think it would demonstrate a lot of progress (and be good for marketing) if a Christian denomination would reject the teaching about homosexuality, but they haven't rejected teachings about slavery, racism or the demeaning of women yet. We can hope.

The counter there is rather simple though: If they aren't teaching that belief in the first place, and are actively teaching the opposite then it becomes almost redundant to go through such a...well, formality. If they're already saying "We love and accept the gays, encourage their unions (sexual and marital), and promote that" then it becomes fairly obvious that they've sided against the "Gays are sinners" end.

Shut up and take it?? What kind of human being are you. So if you have blue or brown eyes and I don't like it, and I lash out at you - you are just going to shut up and take it? You narrow minded people are fucked up. Hope I never run into you, as I will not shut up and take it!!!!
Come to my front door dude and you will be faced with a 6'5" 250 lb - loaded, man that will take you down in a minute. Oh yeah, I'm a faggot too!

Nobody commenting said to "shut up and take it." Did you just want to post your stats?

Angela Brightfeather | August 14, 2010 10:30 PM

As I said Andrew, you don't have a clue.

By your logic, any presentation of stereotypes is helpful because it engages conversation. So racist caricatures would be good because they create conversations. And queer-bating is good. And she-was-asking-for-it rape narratives would be good. There's no such thing as bad publicity?

Your logic is fatally flawed. Sorry, dude.

It's a kid wearing his Mother's heels or playing with her makeup. It happens. It's not a "stereotype" and they're not even associating it with anything in particular.

From there you leap to racism and rape. That's just crazy.

Several of my straight friends saw the ad and didn't have a negative reaction - in fact they said it was cute. This may surprise you, but straight people talk about the possibility of having a gay son or daughter. More and more those conversations are positive, not negative. When we scream and play "victims" with every little thing that comes along, we stifle conversation needlessly.

The Ads are not offensive unless you want them to be.

In this specific instance the screaming has gotten the attention of the school in question. They were unaware of LGBTQ issues and they are now being made aware of them and have accepted information and materials designed to teach martial arts instructors about these issues. It is too bad that their education in these issues had to be facilitated this way but frankly without the volume they would still have no awareness of these issues.
To some extent in can be argued that this dialog was facilitated by these ads but it can also be argued that it was facilitated by the angered response to these ads. Were it not for the offended outrage of the community about this there would be no conversation going on with them and no educating going on for them.

What YOU did was very helpful Rob. You gave them information so they're better equipped to understand LGBT issues.

I still think the "outrage" was exaggerated. We need images like these - especially considering they didn't contain any suggestive, discriminatory language.

I think the conversation outside of our community is helpful. If you've equipped the instructors at the business with useful information - that's even better.

I'm confused. I don't understand how this ad suggests that to stop your child from doing feminine things you should toughen him up. I'm surprised at how many people are interpreting this ad that way. I can see how this ad suggest maybe if you got your child into some after school activities like, maybe, Karate class at RDCA your child's energy will be focused on that instead of breaking the heels off of your new Prada shoes or smearing on your Nix cosmetics. I can also see this ad showing a harsh reality that most of us will face at some point in our lives, if you are different from what a lot of people consider normal you should learn to defend yourself because unfortunately there are crazy violent people out there. If I think of the ad like that I think back to when I came out to my mother. I was 19 and her response to me was what took so long. I could tell back when you were like 6 or 7. Continuing along those lines I think that if my mother had seen an ad like this when I was that age maybe she would have enrolled me in some Karate classes and maybe I wouldn't have suffered some of the "character building" I suffered or maybe I would have had the confidence or know how to handle it differently. Either way seeing this ad as a way to say Karate Kick the sissy out of your son, is stretch for me.

Well said.

I think we should allow images like this and deal with the consequences, instead of complaining. The Ad is NOT offensive, in fact, it's cute. It also represents something very real.

When Ads like this appear we must determine if their is a benefit to the conversation it creates OR if we want to stifle conversation.

I hope Waymon responds. I hope he shares with us whether or not we should angrily denounce these Ads or see them as an opportunity to educate, enlighten and enroll. I hope he does.

Clearly the ad is, in fact, offensive. Maybe not to you, maybe not universally but it is to a clear number of people. For you to repeatedly say "No it's not! It starts people talking! doesn't take that fact away and it's incredibly rude. Just because YOU aren't offended by something doesn't mean you get to tell other people that they're wrong for being offended. ESPECIALLY when you've yet to show any feasible explanation of why their interpretation is incorrect.
By the way? Offensive things can start conversations. That doesn't mean they aren't offensive anymore.

Show me where this is going to start a conversation. Show me something solid rather than WMD(Wild Mass Guessing), because that's really all I've seen so far with "People might talk! It could teach them!"
Ya wanna know how you use an ad like this to teach? Simple: You keep it as an example of when innocent attempts at humor can go awry. The ad itself isn't going to teach anyone anything, and certainly not positively. All the ad is, at a glance, is more of the same old gender-reinforcing bull that we always see.


And seriously, is there some personal reason you keep flame-baiting Waymon, or what? I mean good gods, at least be subtle about it.

For Christ's sake - religion started the idea the homosexuality is Wrong. It is a traditional teaching/belief. That isn't a question. read the comments above, people know the truth.

"Flame-bating Waymon?" Really? I am challenging his opinions. He stopped responding two days ago ... or did he? "Matthew?"

Wow, it's sad that no one has mentioned the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Church. For decades, this legitimate Christian denomination, which has churches around the world, has put the lie to the notion that a Christian denomination must be homophobic. MCC explicitly and formally rejects the traditional Christian belief that homosexuality is wrong. It has done so -- visibly and proudly -- for decades.

It isn't religion, it is particular religionISTS who interpret the Bible to suit their evil, exclusionary purposes and to control their unthinking/hate-filled/'phobic/sycophantic followers, and by extension (via secular law -- see Prop8 and DoMA and the myriad state-level laws that force LGBT citizens into second-class status), the rest of us. Advertising isn't about creating debate -- its MO is to exploit the assumptions in the masses' heads so that they, like Pavlov's dog, pick up a signal to buy. It's clear to me that the goal here was to bring up the stereotype to lead people, for whatever reason, into their karate class. It's disgusting, IMO. If you think differently, Andrew, fine, but don't attack others for having the temerity to express another point of view. Why are you here attacking US, anyway? Why aren't you talking about this ad with the bigots on the Focus for the Family site or some right-wing blog. Go teach THEM something... They're the ones that need educating. Unlike you, most of us are all too aware of what those ads are saying. We see the connection between it and that adorable 17-month-old child. It's a pity you don't. But you're allowed to believe what you want.

It's great that Andrew and Briar are not offended by the ads. Bully, um, for them. That, however, does not stop the ad from being offensive to anyone else, and we have every right (and I would say A DUTY) to speak out against the ads and any visible hatred we see in the media.

Let's get another conversation started. Anyone brave enough to hurl the N word? Andrew surely can teach us how that is a good thing.

Please provide the formal statement from MCC that they have rejected the traditional Christian belief that homosexuality is wrong, sinful or deviant. Several MCC Pastors have been attempting that, but as a denomination it has not happened.

As far as I know they are very open and welcoming, but they never made a formal declaration about rejecting the Christian belief that creates the bigotry, discrimination and homophobia.

I know they have a few brochures that argue mis-interpretation of the Bible, but they haven't rejected that belief. If they are the first Christians to do that it would be very helpful.

"Why aren't you talking about this ad with the bigots on the Focus for the Family site or some right-wing blog. Go teach THEM something... They're the ones that need educating."

Because that would be a waste of time. Christian "literalists" believe God told them we are wrong. They won't give that up.

It is the traditional Christian teaching that has branded us for centuries - not advertisements. People don't "use" religion to justify their bigotry (as you have claimed), they were taught bigoted Christian beliefs. The sooner some Christians have the courage to reject those beliefs, the sooner they will disappear.

Get MCC to make a formal declaration that they reject that traditional Christian belief - not just babble about "interpretation" - and I'll give MCC $1,000,000.

Jesse Monteagudo | August 16, 2010 10:54 AM

Waymon, when I was 13 my parents sent me to the YMCA for judo classes, hoping that it will stop me from being gay. Obviously, it didn't work.

Angela Brightfeather | August 16, 2010 11:49 AM

"Let's get another conversation started. Anyone brave enough to hurl the N word? Andrew surely can teach us how that is a good thing."

You stole my thought. Seeing it Andrew's way, I guess a little blackface comedy routine at a Harlem theater should be met with piles of laughing people in the audiance and their throwing roses on stage at the end of the act. After all, "it's only a joke".

Andrew, I cannot understand after all this talk why it is you do not understand that your opinion not only stinks, but if your words were recorded instead of being written down, they would stink up the entire Bilerico Blog space and Bill would be running for a gas mask right about now.

The fact that you do not understand the point of view of Trans people who feel that this is a negative Deja Vu moment for them, only leads one to believe that you don't know a thing your writing about or trying to express because you obviously don't have the OJT to understand it. That being the case and cosidering the "normal" reaction that people have to shutting their mouths and listening when they don't have the slightest idea about what someone else it talking about, shows the total imaturity of your thinking and no pounding on the keys or stomping your feet for us to agree with you is going to make us agree.

That said, will you please go back in the corner or to your room and play with your Rubics Cube like a nice lad and let the grownups continue to talk. We all know what a smart young man you are, but since your unwilling to learn something that you don't understand, and you just want to constantly disagree to disagree, you give us no choice but to send you to bed early. And if it keeps up, then you can expect a spanking.

The boy in his Mom's heels is NOT like a "blackface comedy routine at a Harlem theater."

I do understand the point of view of Trans persons. I also understand that non-LGBT people have an opinion, too. I understand that they don't find the image offensive or intentionally hurtful. In fact, many of them "get it."

The "conversation" outside of our community is also important. Those Ads, and others that will surely follow, create conversation that leads to education and enlightenment. So, we can seek to censor ALL uncomfortable images or we can use them. I'd rather use them. I'm glad Miller-Lite has a "Man-up" campaign not because it plays with stereotypes, but because it has created conversation. 30 years ago guys didn't talk about homosexuality - they whispered. I'd rather they speak up, even if it means laughter or teasing.

Now, don't make that big leap to bullying and suicide because of advertisements. If you want to stop that - stop the teaching that homosexuals are defective. That fight is with religion - especially Christians that continue to teach bigoted beliefs.

When do the spankings begin?

Just posted an update on this story, complete with my contact and conversations with both the Ad Agency and the Karate School:

Karate/Sissy Ad Update: A Teachable Moment in Stereotypes, Gender Roles, & Shaming

Really? Which churches reject the traditional Christian belief that homosexuality is "wrong, sinful and deviant?" Which ones?

No Christian denomination ever has. If you know of a few churches - we can begin a list.