Contests. They’re honestly just silly tools for a company to advertise the hell out of itself. We all know that. When you enter a contest, you are either giving up some of your personal time by doing a survey hoping to win a $5,000 Best Buy shopping spree or you’re bringing as many people as possible to a company’s website so they might vote for you and spend money at the store. That’s what it’s truly all about.
But in our current political and social environment we find that contests may have another agenda, perhaps even hidden to the company that is sponsoring it.
Last year, our friends Jonathan Howard and Gregory Jones entered the Crate & Barrel Ultimate Wedding Contest on a whim. They’d applied for their marriage license in DC and were only the 20th couple to do so. As the publicity surrounding the contest grew, Gregory and Jonathan saw the outpouring of support from the LGBT community and our allies to help them win votes. While in the end they came in second, the contest gave a lot of us hope that we could actually be seen as equals. While it doesn’t seem like a huge step to take – entering a contest – it was this seemingly innocuous move which put one of our stories in front of thousands.
This year, we have another gay couple in the top two – Robbie Cronrod and Allen Artcliff from Los Angeles. They have a wonderful story and have been together two years. They’re hoping for your votes.
What I’ve learned from watching Jonathan and Gregory and now Robbie and Allen – is that a contest isn’t just a contest. This particular contest is reaching out and telling our stories to everyone who will listen. And the many gay and lesbian couples who have registered for the contest are doing so bravely. Some may be announcing their relationship for the first time and some may have been together for decades. Either way, I hope we can throw some support behind Robbie and Allen to let them know that a community of support does exist.
Hopefully Robbie & Allen will end up with a cheese dome too…and then some!