I initially came across this advertisement when I was on an Amtrak train a few weeks ago. It was not until I read Wan-Hsiu Sunny Tsai’s “Assimilating the Queers: Representations of Gay Men, Bisexual, and Transgender People in Mainstream Advertising” that I realized how accurately this advertisement reaffirms the “gay dream consumer” stereotype. While some may argue that this advertisement should only be celebrated, as it illustrates a gay male couple with their son as the literal poster family for an advertisement regarding family discounts, I believe one should still be cognizant of the type of gay male couple Amtrak has chosen to publicize: blonde-haired, well-dressed handsome white men. This type of couple is the go-to choice in gay advertising, as marketing strategists have made this image the defining identity for gay consumers. In addition, I believe that this advertisement certifies Tsai’s claim that advertisers make a conscious effort in “normalizing” queer representations in the main stream media. At first glance one may not even realize that this ad targets gay consumers until she or he observed the man having his arm around his partner’s shoulder, the fact that it is an advertisement addressed specifically to families and lastly the “IGLTA” (International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association) logo on the bottom. When searching for this advertisement online I actually found a quote from the Amtrak company regarding their support for LGBT rights: ” Simply put, our business diversity philosophy means… appreciation for differences and similarities of all people.” I certainly respect and appreciate Amtrak’s advocacy for LGBT rights but I also think that Amtrak’s mission to diversify its company can continue to progress and move even farther. While it is important to advocate diversity, it is even more important that people do not have a restricted perception of what it means to be diverse, and limited views of the various minorities in today’s American society.
Wan-Hsiu Sunny Tsai. “Assimilating the Queers: Representations of Lesbians, Gay Men, Bisexual, and Transgender People in Mainstream Advertising.” Advertising & Society Review 11, no. 1 (2010)http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed July 31, 2012).
(2012, August 1). “Amtrak ‘Ride With Pride’ Campaign Releases Two Gay-Friendly New Ads.” The Huffington Post. Retrieved http://www.huffingtonpost.com