While scrolling through my WordPress Reader this evening, I came across this advertisement highlighted on Gina Noelle Daggett’s blog (I’m one to give credit where possible). I thought I’d share some thoughts about it here. Watch the ad first, though. No, really, watch the ad. Go on, I’ll wait.
Yeah, I imagine you are as moved by it as I was. As you may have noticed from the end card, the ad was from PFLAG Canada, the Canadian equivalent of (but separate from) the similarly-named US organization of parents, friends, and allies of those who are gay, lesbian, or transgender. The ad was posted last week, just days before the United States Supreme Court heard arguments on whether states could ban or not recognize same-sex marriages. Needless to say, you know which side of that argument the ad (and PFLAG Canada) lands on.
What’s striking about the ad is the imagery being used — faded, well-worn home movies right out of the past. They could’ve been found in someone’s attic or transferred from film to tape. They’re not real images, of course, for they are images of marriages between couples of the same gender that didn’t happen. Don’t let the era of the visual settings be lost on you: They “come” from a time (the mid 20th century) when it was hard to be gay, lesbian, or transgender; it was a time when being ensconced in the closet was uncomfortable and frightening yet the safest option for most, the better to avoid any negative fallout coming their way. Before your mind gets lost in the imagery, the haunting, mournful voiceover (“There was nothing borrowed or blue… no witnesses were needed”) reinforces the title of the ad, “Nobody’s Memories.” While these are couples in fictitious yet happy moments, let their happiness remind same-sex couples of today that our forebears could’ve been so happy being married had they had the chance to wed back then… and that we can be just as happy if we have the chance in 2015.
The ad’s use of alternate universe-like scenarios is impressive, not to mention intricate: The use of right-out-of-the-past settings feels so spot-on accurate, from the use of vintage automobiles and clothing right down to the horn-rimmed eyeglasses and dingy indoor lighting. Were it not for the old movie effects, one could think the ad could’ve been produced by the crew from Mad Men, a TV show known for getting every nook and cranny of its 1960s setting near-perfect.
The ad, and its accompanying website, has two intentions (besides making you shed a tear, of course): To promote and support legal marriage equality worldwide, and to pay tribute to the many loving couples who never had the right to marry the one they love back then nor have the right to do so today. As PFLAG Canada notes in their petition, Canada is one of only 18 countries where same-sex couples are assured, through national law or legal decree, the freedom to marry.
All in all, it’s a truly incredible promotion of marriage equality; all kudos should go to PFLAG Canada and the creative team behind the ad.