Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Queer art censored by U.S. Postal Service

Perry Hoffman's first gay-marriage stamp design was censored

An artist’s design for a stamp honoring gay marriage was rejected by the U.S. Postal Service in an act of political censorship.

Gay artist Perry Hoffman designed the stamp to commemorate the California Supreme Court’s May 15 decision to allow same-sex couples to get married.

He didn’t apply to have his stamp sold at Post Offices. All he wanted was to offer it through an online service called Zazzle.com. Many artists use Zazzle.com to put their images onto products such as mugs, t-shirts -- and stamps.

Hoffman designed a stamp (pictured above) with pairs of linked women’s signs and men’s signs, a hand toasting with a glass of champagne and the words, “Thank you California Supreme Court - Let’s get married!” The Zazzle stamp was rejected by the U.S. Postal Service based on a policy that says:

“Policy Violations: Incorporates material that is primarily partisan or political in nature.
Incorporates material the primary purpose of which is to advocate or protest any particular religious, social, political, legal or moral agenda of any person or entity.”

Then Zazzle went a step further and pulled Hoffman’s gay-positive image from a coffee mug without any explanation. Hoffman recounts the whole story on his blog.

Undaunted, Perry created a more discreet design with two hands toasting each other against a lavender background and the date “May 15, 2008.” This version (pictured below) was approved. It is now on sale at Zazzle.com.

I find it insidious that small acts of censorship like this often go unnoticed and unreported to the larger community. The policy makes it sound like regular postage stamps don’t have any political agenda, but their images of dead presidents and Disney characters are obviously supporting the status quo.

Perry is a California artist, photographer and designer who makes mail art and mosaics.

This gay-marriage stamp design by Perry Hoffman was approved

Kittredge Cherry blogs at the Jesus in Love Blog and edits the Jesus in Love Newsletter on queer spirituality and the arts. She offers GLBT and progressive spiritual resources at JesusInLove.org.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can understand why the first stamp wasn't approved. Sometimes with these kinds of things it's just better to "sneak" in than go with both guns blazing. That way, they'll never know what hit'em!