It’s Been A Big Week


It’s been a big week for the LGBT community. There’s been some truly awful news, like the apparent hate crime killing of Mark Carson.

There’s also been some quite heartening news. A Federal Court decision took effect this past Thursday, May 16, making marriage equality the law of Brazil. Francois Hollande, the president of France, signed a marriage equality bill into law and France will have its first gay marriages on May 29. The state of Minnesota, for its part, also legalized marriage equality, with its governor signing the bill into law on Tuesday. These are big steps forward.

When compared with these things, what I’m about to tell you will seem trivial, but I’ve deemed it worth mentioning. On August 7, Archie Comics will feature its first homosexual kiss.

kevin_keller_archie_gay_kissIt’s reported that the openly gay character Kevin Keller, who first came out to Jughead, will share a kiss with his boyfriend Devon. While this is certainly not a first for comics at large, there is the sense that this will make a few waves.

When Kevin Keller was first introduced as a character in September 2010, Veronica #202 (his debut comic) was so wildly popular that Archie Comics issued its first reprint everTwo years later, Life with Archie #16 featured Kevin’s wedding to a gay black man whom he met while serving in Iraq (the wedding was something of a flash forward. As of his high school years, he is dating Devon). One Million Moms, an arm of the non-profit hate group called the American Family Association, organized a protest, calling on Toys R’ Us to remove the issue from its shelves. Toys R’ Us did not, and the wedding issue went on to be almost as popular as the issue in which Keller first appears.

veronica202_archie_kevin_keller_gayThe August 7 comic, which is already making big news all over the internet, is in fact,a jab at this protest. Dan Parent, the artist for Kevin Keller #10, in which the kiss will appear, has referred to the comic as a “playful poke” at One Million Moms, with the NY Daily News reporting:

Parent said he wrote the story after efforts to remove a comic magazine showing Keller getting married drew at [sic] complaints. One Million Moms, a project of The American Family Association, asked Toys R Us not to display “Life With Archie” No. 16 near its checkout aisles. Toys R Us did not, and the issue went on to sell out its print run.

What’s exciting to me about this is that it serves as a reminder that organizations like One Million Moms seem doomed to fail. You see, for all their petty successes, their high-profile campaigns against businesses who have the audacity to treat LGBT people like human beings deserving of representation always seem to blow up in their face. Take for example, their opposition to Gay Day, an event which dares to expose children to homosexual couples “holding hands, hugging and kissing.” Or, take their widely publicized efforts against JCPenney’s employment of Ellen DeGeneres and general use of LGBT persons in advertisement. This failed, resulting in highly visible and very successful gay and lesbian Mother’s Day and Father’s Day ads. OMM continued to fight this battle throughout the year, again failing each time. It’s a losing battle for them.

JCPenneyAd0512 (2)Having Archie Comics in the fight for the respect and dignity of LGBT persons is heartening, if only because it’s a popular comic-printing company, with a 74-year history as a cultural institution in the United States. It’s a small victory, at least. I think the last few years (and even the last week!) have shown that we are making genuine progress toward LGBT equality in this country and around the world. So, perhaps there’s time for a little celebration of achievement.

And a moment of silence for Mark Carson, too.

Robert Lacayo/Twitter

Robert Lacayo/Twitter


For more, please check out:

The Atlantic Wire | The Murder of Mark Carson: A Hate Crime Where It Wasn’t Expected
The New York TImes | Hollande Signs French Gay Marriage Law
Daily KOS | #14 – Brazil – Marriage Equality Nation Wide
Southern Poverty Law Center | Active Hate Groups
Hollywood Reporter | Archie Comics’ Gay Wedding Issue Sells Out Despite Protest
Gawker | JCPenney Responds to Homophobic Boycott Calls with Gay Father’s Day Ad
NY MAG| JCPenney Actually Benefits from One Million Moms’ Ire