Boston is So Gay!

Or so says Amro Worldwide, one of the leading gay and lesbian
travel organizations. The company’s new “so gay” ad campaign,
developed in partnership with the marketing agency, Out Now, is
being featured in London tube stations to target London

The posters, each of which features a different locale that has
been deemed “so gay,” seek to direct London’s gay and lesbian
communities to the many gay- and lesbian-friendly hot spots the
U.S. has to offer. Participants in the campaign include Atlanta,
Las Vegas, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., South Carolina and, of
course, Boston.

Amro’s CEO, Andrew Roberts, stated in a press release that the goal
of the campaign is twofold: to publicize the exclusively
gay-centric travel options Amro offers and to reclaim what has
traditionally been framed as a derogatory phrase (the schoolyard
taunt that so-and-so is, like, “so gay!”) and recast it in a
positive light. In the words of Out Now’s CEO, Ian Johnson, “It is
really about standing up and saying: You say: ‘So gay’? Then I say:
‘So what!'”

The campaign’s underlying message raises interesting questions
about terminology, how we call ourselves, and the sheer power of
words in our society. By taking a phrase like “so gay” or a term
such as “queer” or “dyke” and reappropriating it, we shift the
terms of discourse. We seize the right to define ourselves, instead
of letting those in positions of power do so for us. By owning the
dirty words we’ve been called, we draw attention to the negatives
in our pasts while also seeking to move beyond them and create
positive self-definitions to draw upon in the future.

Johnson expressed excitement at the fact that this outspoken
campaign is coming to London right on the heels of the banned Heinz
mayonnaise commercial, in which two men share a casual kiss.
Unfortunately, the campaign has already become the subject of

On Friday, South Carolina’s tourism board denounced the state’s
involvement in the campaign. Although it was too late for the ads
to be removed, South Carolina’s tourism officials have refused to
pay for them. The advertising manager who gave the project the
green light has since resigned.

While South Carolina’s backpedaling is regrettable, I am pleased to
see that Boston has decided to come out to the world, affirming its
status as a “so gay” city!