‘Love Is Love’ is already an outdated motif of the LGBTQIA+ community, and here I’m going to tell you why; but first, a little disclaimer: I have used the hashtag and saying #loveislove, and I’ll most likely keep on using it every now and then, because whilst it is already a dated saying, it is still one that needs to be repeated because we still fight for marriage equality and relationship recognition to this day. However, that fight largely benefits just one portion of our community, and we still need to realise there is more to it than two men, or two women in love.
I don’t want you to think, that whilst you’re ready this post, I am sat here seething with negativity. I try to come at these topics from a position of love and progression, because that’s what I want to see us achieve. I have written post after post that are all lined up in one category that you can read on my stances on various LGBTQIA+ issues and the idea of queerness. I also accept that I am a cisgendered, white man and with that comes certain privileges that other people don’t get. I am aware, and I get it, and I still write these things knowing all of that.
But let’s get into it. #loveislove is a saying and hashtag that we do still need to use to further the agenda of marriage equality and relationship recognition for our community on a global basis, but it’s adoption by big brands and clothing companies, erases a larger section of our community. The idea that Love is Love could be approached from different angles; it’s either about romantic love, or being tolerant and accepting but largely it’s about the romantic ideals of ‘love’ as a feeling between two people. The hashtag largely serves those in relationships that follow the heteronormative pattern: two people in love and that should be respected. A lot of the time, it negates the existence of those in polyamorous relationships because it is not the norm, and maybe that’s something we need to focus on if we continue to use the #loveislove motif.
What the hashtag doesn’t include is people’s freedoms to be who they are, and that’s where our progression now lies. The problem with society is that if you are not recognised as a free person, you’re not going to have anything else recognised for you either, and a reductive hashtag about love is only going to serve those who are widely accepted as being cisgendered and heteronormative.
We should be focusing on messages of freedom, something along the lines of #freetobeyou or #freetobeme. These basic freedoms are withheld from parts of our community because they are not recognised as being trans or non-binary. It’s gender identities that are being held back and holding us back as a community. Once we reach beyond the community just being about our sexual identity, then we can work properly on what it actually is that we are lacking. Reducing everything we’re about down to love is exclusionary, and it’s not the only thing we need. We just need freedom, we just need the keys to the cities and the countries where we’re held down and are still ‘less than’ someone who is straight and white, and cisgendered.
Boohoo.com recently released it’s 2018 Pride clothing line, and the overwhelming message there was #loveislove, and it erased everything else. From the outside looking in, that’s all we’re doing, fighting for our right to love, rather than just our right to exist. ‘Love is Love’ erases those who don’t want to be in love, or those who don’t want to fit the societal norm imposed by a patriarchal system influenced by contorted ideas of religion. Erasure is something that happens to us all in life, but it also happens from within our community, forgetting that not everyone’s struggles are the same, and that not everybody has the same rights, we’re not on even playing fields, we’re at different points of the uphill struggle.
I’m not wanting to erase the campaign that #loveislove, because it does still benefit us all, but it is reductive and not how we should be viewed from outside. We are more than the fight for marriage equality and acceptance of our heteronormative relationships. We are about gender identities, we’re about relationships of all kinds, we’re about race and representation. Fight for freedom and fight for love, and hold people accountable for reducing our struggles down to something like relationships, we are more.
#loveislove when you’re #freetobeyou