I came across a poster that read “Kissing does not kill: greed and indifference do,” above a picture of three couples making out. It is the picture what draws the viewer’s attention for a fraction of a second. The line above it, then, complements the picture and tells its story. On a white background, the poster depicted biracial, multiethnic heterosexual, gay, and lesbian couples. The three couples looked like as if they were frozen in a moment in time, infatuated by their significant other. However, there is a distinct, rather deliberate affection difference between the heterosexual, gay and lesbian couples. The heterosexual couple were making out casually with some space between them. The gay and lesbian couples, however, were passionately trying to French-kiss their partner in a close proximity relative to the heterosexual couple. Trying. Heterosexual couple were already making out, whereas the gay and lesbian couples were trying to kiss.
If anything, the poster raises key issues such as recognition, respect, and equality for gay and lesbians. The depiction of them not being able to kiss publicly, unlike heterosexual couples, signifies too little progress made in the fight for equality. The poster – picture and text – brings into surface yet another issue: HIV/AIDS. I think the point the creator was effectively trying to argue – which I totally agree with – is that homosexuality does not necessarily lead to AIDS, and certainly not death. The artist argues for a need for social change; he is criticizing the status quo in that our society is taken by greed and indifference. People live in a bubble not caring about the world outside, and discriminating against those who are different. The message is three fold, I think: acknowledging HIV/AIDS, inequality, and criticizing the society.
I think this art work should be displayed in public. People of all ages, religious/political backgrounds should learn that we are all equal regardless of age, race, and sex. I think art should be funded by the government. Art keeps a cultural record of society at the time art work was created. It raises questions and starts discussions about interesting and controversial issues, such as equality and discrimination. This ad is still relevant; so as issues of sexual orientation and equality are still controversial.
Different upbringing and cultural feedbacks fed in my response to this art work. Firstly, I was brought up in a religiously traditionalist, arguably conservative society. My parents, however, were, and still are, moderates. They accept gay and lesbians as functional, productive members of society. They see them as similar as other human beings – though they do not recognize their right to marry and have a family, I do not think. But, society is on the contrary: homosexuality is a disease that has to be cured. Secondly, moving out of my society opened my eyes to different realities; homosexuality was no longer a disease, nor it was a choice.
I came to realize that discrimination and prejudice against others were unjustified regardless of what is written in the Holy Book. I think I see this art work as enlightening and rather comforting that it is displayed to the public to bring about discussion about LGBTQ. If it was displayed in a conservative society, then it would definitely not be welcomed, certainly not in my old traditionalist society…