Nearly three years after Obergefell v Hodges, LGBT couples still face discrimination: In 31 states they can lose their job or their homes in moment’s notice, just for who they are or who they love. But a new Ad Council campaign is looking to change that.
Created in partnership with the Gill Foundation, “Beyond I Do” brings awareness to the discrimination that LGBT people still face, even after marriage equality. Discrimination that leads to high rates of unemployment, inadequate healthcare, and homelessness, whether you’re married or not.
“The power of this campaign comes from leveraging the shocking fact that millions of Americans are being denied basic rights,” said Quinn Katherman, creative director of CP+B, which produced the campaign. “We realized that nothing could ever be as compelling as the true stories these couples have to tell.”
In one spot, Jimmie, an Ohio educator, talks about fired because her principal had “questions about her sexuality.” “I came from five generations of teachers,” she says. “Losing my job was the bottom falling out of my world.”
She isn’t alone: Another couple, Queen and Terrance, address the housing discrimination they faced because Queen is transgender. “It takes me to a place of no hope,” she says of being evicted. “It takes me to a place of loneliness. It just—it saddens me. When you discriminate against somebody in housing, where do these people go?”
In Michigan, where it’s legal for medical professionals to refuse service to LGBT people, a pediatrician refused to treat Krista and Jami’s newborn baby because they were lesbians. “We were told the doctor didn’t even come to the office that morning because she didn’t want to see us.”
The “Beyond I Do” website features an interactive map with details on state laws and issues, as well as more interviews with couples impacted by discrimination. Actor Nick Offerman has also recorded “Beyond I Do” radio spots that will be heard nationwide.
“Everyone should have the ability to live in safety, support their families, and go about their daily lives without the fear of being turned away because they’re gay or transgender,” said Ad Council CEO Lisa Sherman, formerly GM of Logo. “By sharing powerful and poignant stories, this campaign highlights the values we hold so dear as Americans and provides a real opportunity to grow awareness and empathy.”