The above post came across my Facebook feed tonight and I had to pause … after I liked it and shared it.
After the Massacre in France, I remember my Facebook chat window list of friends was a solid Blue / White / Red for France. The atrocity gripped the world as France recovered from a horrific terrorist attack. The chat window list was as well a solid Rainbow for Marriage equality, too, just shy of a year ago.
Shortly after I heard what had happened in Orlando and saw the first profile pic change, I quickly asked Instinct Magazine owners if we could change our profile to the current Pulse Ribbon design. As I sent the text, the Pulse / Rainbow stack icon showed up on one of my friend's pages. Crap, which one will we use? Which one should anyone use? I knew we had to change Instinct Magazine's profile pic, but to what? The decision was made to use the ribbon.
After the SCOTUS Marriage Equality vote, I was actually shocked as to how many of my friends altered their profile pic to show their support. My chat list is like yours, I am sure, comprised of friends, coworkers, relatives, and hot men you never really chat with but friended on a whim. I also have many former students from my ten years of teaching. The support after the SCOTUS ruling was wonderful and truly unexpected as well as blinding when you opened up Facebook. Where is it after Orlando?
Similar to after the SCOTUS ruling, I honestly did not expect many of my friends to change their profile pic following Orlando. Am I okay with that? Kinda? I do think this weekend's attack is being processed by us all in a more personal way than any other "profile pic changing event" of recent. We all are dealing with the anger, grief, sadness, hatred, and questions differently and our straight allies, I think many are respecting that. I know my work wife has been great throughout this whole life changing event. She, as any human being has been dealing with her own emotions, but she has been allowing me to process my own feelings. I thank her for that very much. But respecting that and giving us our space to deal, does that excuse them from not changing their profile pic?
My mind is everywhere about this profile change necessity. And that may be where the solution to this conundrum lies. Let's not define it as a necessity. My thoughts go back to a line from the Chainsmokers "Selfie" song "I only got 10 likes in the last 5 minutes … Do you think I should take it down? … Let me take another selfie." We do too much to on Facebook to be seen or get attention. My dog pooped today. I'm hungry. I'm tired, good night all! WHO THE FUCK CARES! And as for wishing someone Happy Birthday, give them a phone call, cuz you know the moronic "Oh My God, I want to thank everyone for their birthday wishes today" post will soon follow.
After comments rolled in from straight friends beneath my "PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO…" picture, I felt bad about reposting the image. Straight friends were proclaiming their alliance, their disgust, their feelings about Orlando. I knew they felt that way, but did I need to guilt them into a response by posting "PAY CLOSE ATTENTION To …?" No, I did not. I've received personal messages, phone calls, and texts from all over the world asking me how I was doing, telling me I was being thought of, and told that prayers were being sent my way. So much better than seeing a friend change a profile pic.
I think what was great about last year's rainbow explosion was that we were overwhelmed from all the support. Maybe many of us are looking for that now, especially since lives were lost and this is more than an LGBT issue, but an American issue that effects every household in the nation. Yes, many of us are looking for that pic change, but really, should we?
The "PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO…" pic came from some Eric's Facebook page. I'm not going to say which Eric or give a link, but some of the comments on his page from the image were:
My straight friends are fine. It's my family posting about the that Christine girl, posting about bad Muslims, posting about how guns don't kill people, posting about literally everything BUT the Orlando attack that's making me furious.
Our anger is building, and their silence is deafening.
I have a separate "professional-personal" Facebook account, and the updates/the "Wall" on that account is nearly silent…
What I AM seeing on my alternate FB wall are occasional posts about Christine Grimmie. Please, please forgive me, but mourning the passing of a lily-white, Jesus-freaky (I don't mean an observant Christian who believes in the teachings of love and compassion, I mean — even if she was that type of a good human being/believer — that she's a symbol for the bigots of a "good person" who died senselessly, as opposed to the 49 senseless deaths, and over 50 injured, in the massacre at Club Pulse) is the only one worthy of their tributes?
I will have to say, it is not just a straight thing. An overwhelming majority of my Facebook friends are LGBT and MOST of them have not altered their profile pic either. When you point a finger at someone else, three more are pointing back at you.
So why aren't Facebook profile pics being altered as much as they were in the past?
Is there not just one, but too many options so people just don't do it? (See all the options I found just on my friends' pages shown below.)
Did Facebook drop the ball by not recommending one right off to follow / use?
Is changing your profile pic not the new thing to do anymore?
Should your friends, Gay, Straight, everyone be changing their pic since this is a national tragedy? Even the flags are at half mast.
Maybe there's enough being done in the real world to show everyone's support? Get off your fucking Facebook, get outside, interact, and maybe you will see the support coming our way?
What are your thoughts?
A couple of my readers were not too pleased with the above blog. I was told that I needed to go back and change my blog so it established a "real point." Many times I treat my BLOGS as … ummmm … a blog or a diary entry. Some have loved how personal I get in it and others yell at me for acting like a journalist. HA! I am the farthest thing from a journalist, I never want to be a journalist, and I do not pretend to be one. It says that in my bio.
So, to the reader that wanted me to update my blog so it made a real point, here's the update. Our conversation from Facebook.
READER: I'm gay and take extreme offense to and embarrassed by this post. I have seen many personal posts by fellow gay friends airing this same sentiment. I haven't altered my profile photo nor am I going to do so. I didn't alter my photo for marriage equality either. None of these decisions are a reflection on my support of the cause.
I had stopped changing my picture when disasters happened because it became all too routine. Tonight, I changed my picture to hopefully share hope with at least one other person, like the hope you showed me dad. I love you!"