NYC Pride Jammed Lawmakers' Faxes With Queer Literature

#BuryTheBills targets anti-LGBTQ+ legislators

On Sunday, excerpts from modern classics of queer literature began flooding lawmakers' faxes as part of an initiative from nonprofit NYC Pride and Havas New York. The campaign's creators targeted conservative politicians from across the U.S. who support measures that would undermine the LGBTQ+ community's quest for equality and civil rights.

Havas launched #BuryTheBills on June 26 to coincide with the annual Pride March in New York. The team set up dozens of "bill boards" on city streets, each highlighting pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. Scanning a QR code on the boards led users to a website where they could fax pages from queer-themed books published by Penguin Random House to elected officials.

Why faxes? Because state legislators must keep such machines always switched on in their offices. That's the law. But they can easily block or ignore emails, calls and texts.

"We wanted to do what was most effective, and these faxes cannot be ignored," Dan Lucey, chief creative officer at Havas New York, tells Muse. "Also, we thought faxing was apropos since they seem to be rolling back the clock with these bills."

So far, more than 1 million pages have been dispatched to 50 elected officials, fronted by a cover sheet promising that "love always wins" in the face of adversity.

"These lawmakers think it's easy to take away the rights of the community, so we wanted to give the people a way to make their voices heard that was just as easy," says Evan Maranca, Havas associate creative director. "We expect lawmakers to roll their eyes at this. Our goal was always to make them uncomfortable and make it as hard as possible to do the work necessary to pass these bills. We love picturing them trying to find the actual faxes they need to push their bills forward in between all our pages of queer love."

Said pages, some NSFW, include selections from Peter Kispert, Hannah Gadsby, Paul Tran, Paul Mendez, Camille Perri and David Levithan. They cover themes such as the bittersweet quests for true love, the trials of coming out to friends and family, and personal truth trumping ignorance.

Click the images to enlarge and scroll through:

The local senators and representatives—virtually guaranteed to maintain their partisan positions no matter what material crosses their faxes—aren't the primary audience.
"We hope to strike a chord within the community as well as allies—to act up and show that the loss of people's rights is unacceptable," says Havas ACD Mario Licato. "If we keep pushing creative ideas that can change people's consciousness and the way they vote, that's how we win."

To offset the heavy use of paper, Penguin Random House contributed $10,000 to One Tree Planted.

Each eight-page fax blast concludes on a note of hope and power:

Finally, here are the lawmakers at the receiving end of #BuryTheBills. Feel free to fax them any old time—though their machines might be tied up for a while:

Rep. Joseph Fischer - KY
Sen. Frank Niceley - TN
Rep. Bob Dettmer - MN
Sen. Warren Hamilton - OK
Sen. Timothy Dukes - DE
Sen. Jake Merrick - OK
Sen. Marsha Symens - AK
Rep. Melinda Prunty - KY
Sen. Mark Pody - TN
Rep. Rick Ladd - NH
Rep. Ginny Ehrhart - GA
Rep. Linda Gould - NH
Sen. Dennis Guth - IA
Rep. Bruce Skaug - ID
Sen. Eric Tarr - WV
Rep. Tom Gann - OK
Rep. Jeff Ellington - IN
Rep. John McCrostie - ID
Rep. Thomas McKay - AK
Rep. Sarah Vance - AK
Rep. Brett Fairchild - KS
Rep. Sandy Salmon - IA
Rep. Judy Burges - AZ
Sen. Janice Bowling - TN
Rep. Gary Click - OH
Sen. Nathan Dahm - OK
Rep. Wes Allen - AL
Rep. Garry Smith - SC
Rep. Bruce Griffey - TN
Rep. Sam Satoru Kong - HI
Sen. Danny Carroll - KY
Sen. Beth Mizell - LA
Rep. Kathy Szeliga - MD
Rep. Peggy Scott - MN
Sen. Jen Kiggans - VA
Rep. Barbara Gleim - PA
Sen. Elaine Morgan - RI
Sen. Michael Testa - NJ
Rep. Rick Jasperse - GA
Rep. John Fillmore – AZ
Rep. Richard Andrade - AZ
Sen. Shane Jett – OK
Sen. Steven Oroho - NJ
Rep. Andy Josephson - AK
Rep. Scott Sharp - KY
Rep. Glenn Cordelli - NH
Rep. Cezar McKnight - SC
Rep. David DeCoste - MA
Rep. Ashley Trantham - SC
Rep. Bennie Cook - MO

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