We are now at the end of June, which felt like it only started a week ago yet is somehow already over. Between Coronavirus and working from home for the last 3 months, time doesn’t really exist to me anymore.
Anyway, the month of June is also Pride Month, which celebrates gay pride both here in the United States and in other countries around the world. It takes place every June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of 1969 in NYC, and it serves as a way for people to reflect more than usual on showing solidarity with the LGBTQ community.
Most people show their support by doing things like changing the colors of their Facebook profile picture to rainbow or attending one of the many Pride parades that happen in most major cities (Well maybe not this year because of Coronavirus). Businesses also show their support for the gay community by doing things like donating to activist groups or incorporating rainbow colors into their logo.
While all of the things mentioned above are fine and dandy, one company decided to take their support a step further this year. When every other company simply zigged, Burger King decided to zag and stand out from the rest of crowd as the ultimate gay allies. They did this by skipping over the usual rainbow logo theatrics that most companies do, and instead rebranded their Mexican franchises to Burger Queer, and I think that’s kind of a weird way of showing support.
Now first and foremost, I want to emphasize that I’m pro-gay and the whole lot. I don’t care if 2 dudes or 2 chicks want to bang eachother or get married and you shouldn’t either, so before somebody stumbles upon this blog years from now and tries to cancel me based on the title, let me get that out of the way first.
When I say that I think this is weird, I just mean it sounds weird. Not in a homophobic way, but just in a marketing way. I mean, Burger Queer? It just doesn’t roll off the tongue at all. I can’t imagine a scenario where my friends and I would be hungry and I’d say, “I have an idea, let’s go get some food at Burger Queer!”. See what I mean? It’s a marketing nightmare that even the gay community would probably cringe at. Based on what I’ve seen online, I’m not alone in thinking this. A lot of people thought it was a joke, and I even saw a few people describing it as “rainbow capitalism”, which I thought was funny.
Another reason why I think incorporating the word queer into Burger King’s name seems a little weird to me is because I always thought that queer was a homophobic slur, but now apparently it’s what some people prefer to identity as and be called. I don’t know when this happened, but I must have missed the memo. When I was a kid words like queer, fag, homo etc. were just some examples from the long list of interchangeable insults that my 12 year old friends and I would say to eachother. That’s why seeing queer in big corporate letters and hearing that it has become the appropriate thing to call some people in the gay community is a bit shocking to somebody like me—who grew up with it always having a negative connotation.
Having said that, I must say that I love this 3-D chess move by the gay community. They pulled off the ultimate 180 here by taking the word queer—a word that was previously used as an insult toward them—and are now pretty much just saying, “Yes I am, and that’s our word now”. They took popular homophobic ammunition, flipped it on its head, and are now wearing it with pride (no pun intended). Oh who am I kidding. Of course that was intended, but you have to admit that was a good one.
While we’re still on the topic of homosexually-themed fast food restaurants in Mexico, I’d also like to add that I was surprised this happened in Mexico. If it had happened somewhere like England, Spain, or France I wouldn’t have batted an eye, but Mexico? I don’t know man, it just didn’t sound right to me for some reason. Call it my innate ignorance of other countries and their cultures and laws, but I guess I just figured that homosexuality in Mexico was still very taboo. They’re one of the most Catholic countries on Earth per capita, and most of the news stories I see about Mexico are usually just cartels killing innocent people for no reason, so I guess it was my gut feeling that being gay was probably still illegal in Mexico. Is it wrong that I assumed that? Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, fuck it. Who cares, at least I’m honest.
Not every tribute is received the way you thought it would be. For example, I was at a fancy dinner party one time and I tried to make a toast. I was half-serious and half-kidding, but by the end of it I was fully embarrassed because I made an ass out of myself because some of the jokes didn’t land. My terrible drunken toast reminds me a bit of what Burger King did here, because even though both of our intentions were good, it left everybody saying “What the hell were they thinking?”.
My highschool Latin teacher always used to say, “Less is more”(Well he would say it in Latin, but if you saw my grades you’d understand why I don’t remember what it actually was). So whether you’re making an impromptu speech at a dinner party or trying to show your support for the gay community by inserting the word queer into your name, just remember that sometimes less is more, and it’s probably always in your best interest to avoid going overboard with whatever you’re doing.
PS: Speaking of going overboard, I just came up with a quick little business idea that Burger King can use next year for Pride Month. Fuck making burgers, they should convert all of the restaurants into gay clubs instead. That way, when people see the sign rainbow sign outside and it says “Burger Queer: Have It Your Way” it will make way more sense.