Ad From Richard Linklater Asks Texans to ‘Pee With LGBT’ to Fight a Proposed Bathroom Bill

Director works with GSD&M on new spot

Are you down to pee with LGBT?

As the Trump administration rescinds federal protections allowing transgender students to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity, the issue is likely to be decided on the state and local level—including in Texas, where GSD&M and Hollywood filmmaker Richard Linklater have banded together to give you “Taking a Seat, Making a Stand.”

Created for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and Legacy Community Health, its job is to inform people about SB6 (Senate Bill 6), a Texas “bathroom bill,” à la North Carolina, that would prohibit transgender people from using the restroom of the gender they identify with.

This video doesn’t go into much nuance. Shot in GSD&M’s own office and bathrooms, it features a variety of people—including a cowboy—passing each other the narrative baton to generically upbeat background music.

By and large, it tackles the discriminatory nature of the bill while highlighting the negative impact it could have on Texas businesses. When our cowboy friend remarks, “We damn sure ain’t going to end up like North Carolina,” that’s a direct reference to the latter’s $1 billion economic loss following its own bathroom bill.

So, what does this work propose you do to fight SB6? As one guy says, “Roll up your sleeves, pull down your pants … and pee with LGBT.” This is followed by a slew of wacky catchphrases like “You gotta spray it to say it” and “You gotta take a seat to make a stand.”

Yup.

An accompanying website has other ways to help: Texans can email their legislators, and non-Texans can do some supportive shopping or donating. The site also includes an “I Pee with LGBT” logo that you can use as a social media profile photo.

We’re not really sure what to make of this “solidarity peeing” thing. Did we really need to be invested with purpose in order to peacefully share bathrooms? Isn’t it just a little too twee? Also, why doesn’t anyone say the obvious—that the degree to which we’re preoccupied by the contents of other people’s pants isn’t just strange; it’s its own kind of perversion?

Then there’s the fact that this isn’t really just a bathroom bill. As Adland keenly observes, SB6 also encompasses changing facilities—any space “where a person may be in a state of undress, including a restroom, locker room, changing room, or shower room.”

This changes the stakes somewhat. And while the principle remains the same (what is gender, anyway?), the nuances that “I Pee with LGBT” artfully skips may well make a difference to some people.

Per Dabitch: “The website makes it clear that ‘It is and always will be illegal to harm or harass someone in a restroom,’ but mentions nothing of situations where young girls and anatomically young boys are nude together in the same changing rooms. Probably because if they did, not a single parent in Texas would write to their congressmen about this.”

It’s not a stupid point. But GSD&M’s desire to keep things simple is also understandable.

A hearing date for SB6 hasn’t yet been set, but it isn’t likely that this is the last you’ll hear about it. In the meantime, maybe buy a tote bag.