Where Is the LGBT Community in This Provincetown Promo Video?
It happened again: Someone made a marketing video about Massachusetts, and people are mad.
If you’ve ever taken the ferry to Provincetown, or braved the long trip via car along the Cape to the quirky beachside village, you know what the place is like. In one dense little town you can find all the things people generally associate with New England getaways: lobsters, taffy, crafts, sand. But P-town is just as well known for its wealth of drag shows, annual bear week, and crowd-pleasers like the world’s largest lesbian wedding. It is, after all, among the most vibrant and best-known LGBT communities in the country.
Which is why a new promotional video promoted by the Provincetown Chamber of Commerce shared on its Facebook page this month (which is, as luck would have it, Pride Month) is rubbing locals and P-town fans the wrong way. Included in the two-minute spot are the lobsters and artisans, storefronts, and dunes, as well as some smiling families and a beach bonfire. But there are no signs of the gay community that has helped define P-town for decades. Nary a rainbow flag, a performer in drag—or even, from the looks of it, a same-sex couple—can be found in the promo.
A lot of people love the video and the way it captures the town’s summer fun vibe, and most comments on the Facebook post are positive. But to many, as the Globe notes today, it was a huge oversight, and negative reactions to the post have started adding up. “This is what erasure looks like,” one commenter wrote, adding, “Apparently Ptown has no queer people nor any people of color. Appalling.” (Another critique of the video is that everyone in it appears to be white). Someone else called it a “shameful straightwashing.”
The Chamber’s executive director, Candice Collins-Boden, tells the Globe the omission was not intentional, adding that there are several videos in the works that will promote the town this summer and that an upcoming one focuses on festivals and other events, many of which are LGBT-related.
In the meantime, let this be a lesson to anyone hoping to condense a Massachusetts community into a soundbite: tread carefully. We take these things very seriously.