About a month ago, we here at the L Stop launched a “cutest couple” contest in the spirit of that favorite Hallmark holiday of Cupid, candies and romance. Though the prize is nothing too extravagant – a couple of Bulls tickets and some swag- we had a national response, accumulating tons of photos from those couples eager to share their love (and cuteness) to the rest of the facebook universe. While we were surprised with the huge turnout, we were even more surprised to have several hetero- (or otherwise non traditional lesbian couples) submit their pictures to the contest. (Side note- who woulda thought the words traditional and lesbian would be together- I like it).
ANYWAYS, as the deadline came and went, our little conundrum was revealed to the staff for input: to let the non lesbian couples participate or not? I think all of us had a little bit of conflict in our heart. Should we do what is fair and let everyone and anyone participate – or – do we let the contest hold tightly to the sentiment of only allowing the queer women’s community (that we work so hard to represent every day) enter the contest. One of the ideas behind this contest was to have something for US, the ladies, where no one stuck out as something controversial or untraditional because we have each other. I mean, not all of us can or want to flaunt our love/PDA/what it may – n everyday life when we are surrounded by those who may not accept or understand. In fact, one of my friends expressed that she had constantly had to be competing against straight people, and this was something that finally evened out the playing field.
I get it. We all get it. I mean, to be honest we have no idea how all of these people found out about our contest… As AMAZING as our website is, it does tend to cater to the queer women of Chicago and those around the world. We know these things- technology is amazing that way. However, what gives us the audacity not to accept the hetero/non queer couple who took the time to send in a picture?
While all of these nominations were rolling in, news broke nationally of St. Joseph University in Philadelphia had been hosting a similar contest for their Alumni Association. However, the controversy here was that a lesbian couple was originally denied participation. Well, of course controversy ensued and after a guerilla facebook campaign, enough support was rallied to get them acknowledged, because they too had a love story that they wanted to share with their fellow graduates.
Needless to say after following this story, my response to the team was simple: of course we allow everyone to participate. Why would we be the ones to protest and simply turn it around on others who want to be supportive and even see themselves as being just as cute as we are? To be honest, I think it is great that people from outside of our community are paying attention. It is not just our community that needs to listen and learn about each other, but also our allies and those who are unaware simply because of exposure or lack thereof. One thing we need to remember – just as much as the importance of unity among ourselves, is the importance of unity amongst us with our allies. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be half as far as where we are today.
So with that, ladies AND gentlemen, take a look for yourselves and let us know who you think the cutest L Stop couple of the year is.
Did You Vote Yet?
Here’s a link to our Cutest Couple Contest album on Facebook. Just “Like” a couple to vote, and you can like more than one.
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Lauren was born and raised in South Minneapolis and like many other innocent midwesterners got sucked into the black hole of Chicago politics 4 years ago. As the LGBT Coordinator for the Gery Chico for Mayor Campaign she attempted to take on the entire city and hasn’t looked back since. Now working for a communications firm, she spends her extra time running around with cases of PBR playing in different sports leagues, hosting couchsurfers from all over the place, and deciding how she is going to change the world. A simple lady at her core, she has decided that the first person to send her an edible arrangement must be the one.