Few would argue that American society has changed dramatically since the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village marked the beginning of the modern gay rights movement.
At the time of the event itself, which happened 48 years ago this week, homophobia was rampant, even in famously metropolitan Manhattan. After the riots, the New York Daily News, which is now seen as the left-leaning counter to Ruper Murdoch’s New York Post, ran with the inflammatory headline “Homo Nest Raided—Queen Bees Are Stinging Mad.”
Back then, no “mainstream” brand was brave enough to openly support the LGBTQ community. And there’s no question that some consumers still take exception to gay rights today.
But the following Twitter thread by PR veteran Jarrett Way, which came in response to just such a consumer, and went viral over the weekend, illustrates why it’s no longer risky for any big brand to stand in solidarity with LGBTQ Americans—exactly two years after the Supreme Court officially made same-sex marriage the law of the land.
Here’s the tweet that caught Way’s attention:
And here’s how Way replied:
One may notice that the penultimate tweet in Way’s understandably popular thread linked to Adweek’s story, published just over a year ago, about how brands have played a significant role in pushing states toward adopting more LGBTQ-friendly policies.
This is even more true now than it was then. A study released by Pew Research Center today found that support for same-sex marriage has increased dramatically among all demographic groups over the past decade.
In 2007, 54 percent of Americans said they opposed same-sex marriage while 37 percent supported it. Now, for the first time, a majority of baby boomers (56 percent) stand on the affirmative side of that question.
This trend also, incredibly, transcends politics. Today’s study marks the first time that “Republicans and Republican-leaning independents” on the whole do not oppose the rights of gay men and women to marry. Only four years ago, 61 percent of self-described Republicans said they did not support same-sex marriage, versus 33 percent who did.
So while some consumers, like the one who inspired Way’s tweets, will continue to react negatively to LGBTQ-friendly statements and campaigns, these efforts no longer seem quite so risky—or so bold—as they did only a few years ago. And companies like Coors, which faced boycotts for its “support of antigay groups” in the past, can get involved with little fear of losing market share.
Even if you’re skeptical of corporate social statements, this still sounds like a good reason to celebrate.