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“Let’s turn a day reserved for a man who has spread nothing but intolerance towards the community into a day of love and support for it.” So says the campaign “Happy Birthday, Mr. Vice President,” an attempt to make June 7, 2019 — the 60th birthday of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence — a record day for LGBTQ donations.
It was 57 years ago — on May 19, 1962 — when Marilyn Monroe, one of the leading sex symbols of the time, sang a sultry “happy birthday” to President John F. Kennedy. (The really young may know of Monroe’s birthday song and not even know it; Lana Del Rey’s track “National Anthem” includes a cover of Monroe’s song in its introduction.)
It’s in an effort to re-spark that classic moment in American history — and also to piss off notorious homophobe Mike Pence — that the campaign was born.
“We want to turn a day reserved for a man who has done nothing helpful at all for the community into one of the most supportive days for it,” say Macie Soler-Sala and Zeynep Orbay, who work for the ad agency Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam. “We want to show him — and this government he’s helped influence — just how much louder, stronger and impactful our voices can be. All in a way that’s honest, heartfelt, fun … and a little sexy. We hope this is his best birthday yet.”
In a video created just for the campaign, drag queens don their very best attempt at Marilyn Monroe, blonde wigs and all, and sing a song for Mike Pence. But far from genuine well-wishes for Pence, the video encourages all who watch it to donate to an LGBTQ organization of their choice. (Head to the campaign’s website for some suggested organizations.)
It’s an attempt to both raise awareness for LGBTQ issues during Pride Month, but also to “turn a day of hate into a day of love” via LGBTQ donations.