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You are here: Home > June 2006 > Macy's Decision To Pull a Gay-Pride Window Display Has Come Under Fire From GLBT Organizations.

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June 08, 2006

Macy's Decision To Pull a Gay-Pride Window Display Has Come Under Fire From GLBT Organizations.

Posted at June 8, 2006 02:22 PM in Prides . Brenda Velez
© 2006®
June 08, 2006

The story began this way: Macy's department store-representatives in Downtown Crossing, Boston, approached Boston Pride, the organization coordinating many of the Gay Pride Week events throughout the city, and offered a window display which, according to Boston Pride, was approved by all parties. The display featured two male mannequins, with one wearing a Gay Pride rainbow flag around his waist, next to a list of several planned Boston Pride Week events.

The controversy began when MassResistance, formerly the Article 8 Alliance, launched a campaign to have the display removed. MassResistance, which has been in existence since the mid-1990s, has campaigned against same-sex marriage and public-school textbooks that bring up GLBT issues. MassResistance claimed it objected to the display after receiving phone calls from its supporters concerned that one mannequin was wearing a flag as a "skirt" and that the mannequins had "enlarged breasts." The organization's concern, according to its president, Brian Camenker, is that companies such as Macy's are getting involved in promoting the GLBT-rights movement.

To understand MassResistance's views, here are the statements of its president, who agreed to be taped in an interview with DiversityInc: "A lot of these companies get tied up in that kind of political movement. In the rest of America, that kind of movement is not as popular as it may be in corporate offices, especially in the retail industry. The lesson here is stick to your business; don't get involved in very political issues."

Camenker told DiversityInc, "If Macy's had a St. Patrick's Day window, nobody would have cared. If it was Black History Month or some weird black thing, nobody would have cared … If you are going to get involved with the homosexual movement, you are going to alienate people. If you get involved with the Irish thing or the black thing, basically you are not going to alienate people. I think that if companies are going to make that decision, they have to expect what happened to Macy's to happen."

The GLBT groups see it differently. "It is really sad and frustrating that Macy's, which has a strong record on LGBT issues in the past, would so quickly cave to such a hateful group. I would expect better from a deptartment store such as Macy's," said Marc Solomon, the campaign director for MassEquality, a coalition of local and national organizations defending equal marriage rights for same-sex couples in Massachusetts. "We are now encouraging our members and the community to contact Macy's to demand it reverse its policy and put the display back up."

Macy's spokesperson Elina Kazan said the store decided to remove the mannequins but leave the list of events to strike a balance. Gay Pride displays in previous years and in other cities such as New York do not include mannequins. She said that the change to the display "does not in any way reflect a change in our unwavering commitment and support of the gay community and was never intended to offend any individual, group or organization. Macy's commitment to diversity will continue to be an important part of our company and community outreach as we celebrate Gay Pride festivities this month and in the future."

Kazan added that Macy's (No. 20 on The 2006 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) has a long-standing and respected history of support for diversity. "Our company philosophy is deeply rooted in diversity and inclusiveness," she said. "As such, we support a variety of causes in the communities that we serve. Our commitment and celebration of gay pride has been traditionally commemorated in our window displays. Our annual support of Gay Pride Week in Boston and in other cities where we operate clearly demonstrates our commitment to diversity."

"I think this is really lame and the excuses are really lame," countered Solomon. "The only thing Macy's can and should do is put the display back up and apologize to the entire community for caving to such a hate-filled group."

"We believe that Macy's erred in hastily capitulating to an ideology of intolerance," said Boston Pride in its statement. "We respectfully urge Macy's to restore its display window to its original design before the start of Pride Week's flagship events this weekend."

Source: DiversityInc


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