In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v Wade, stripping women of the constitutional right to an abortion, many have noted a new sense of urgency driving Pride events this month.
Given comments by some members SCOTUS, many LGBTQ activists believe their own hard-earned rights over the years could be in jeopardy.
At yesterday’s NYC Pride gathering, organizers teamed with ad agency Havas New York on an activation designed to raise awareness of those concerns and to enable the tens of thousands of participants to act.
The effort was designed to shine a light on the more than 300 bills lawmakers in the United States introduced this year that impose limitations on the freedoms of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Havas New York created "Bill Boards" that lined the streets of the march route. Each board featured a different bill, along with a Flowcode QR code and call-to-action to all those opposing the laws to #BuryTheBills.
The campaign has an interesting twist. According to the agency, state lawmakers legally cannot turn off their fax machines -- and the campaign was designed so that each scanned QR code on a "Bill Board" triggered faxes of stories of queer love from popular novels to the lawmakers responsible for the bills. The intent said the agency was to “spread love” and ultimately change the lawmakers’ minds.
"Sadly, years of progress to advance LGBTQIA+ rights can be reversed seemingly overnight as homophobia and transphobia prevails in many state legislatures, particularly in southern parts of the country," stated Dan Lucey, Chief Creative Officer of Havas New York. "The goal of this campaign is to call out the bills currently in front of Congress and give marchers a platform to immediately take action and make their voices heard in a way politicians literally can't tune out."
The faxes to lawmakers included excerpts from well-known queer literature: "Rainbow Milk" by Paul Mendez, "I Know You Know Who I Am" by Peter Kispert, "When Katie Met Cassidy" by Camille Perri, "Boy Meets Boy" by David Levithan, "Ten Steps to Nanette" by Hannah Gadsby, and "All the Flowers Kneeling" by Paul Tran, all published by Penguin Random House.
Bansri Manek, March Director at NYC Pride, stated, "Our mission as an organization is to work toward a future without discrimination where all people have equal rights under the law. This activation does just that and fits perfectly into our 2022 theme, 'Unapologetically Us,' which focuses on the importance of LGBTQIA+ individuals standing together and proudly living their truth in the face of social justice issues and legislation that directly attacks their community."
NYC Pride credited Flowcode with making the activation possible. The firm designed the unique QR code program and fax trigger that allowed protestors to anonymously act. The literature faxed to the state legislatures was provided courtesy of Penguin Random House.
In just one day, #BuryTheBills has generated over 570,000 pages of faxes to lawmakers. Penguin Random House will plant a tree for each batch of excerpts faxed to help offset the paper used in the campaign (up to 10,000 trees through a $10,000 contribution) through a partnership with One Tree Planted.