Rant from Riverton: Why didn't REC change to a rainbow logo for Pride Month?

This is a difficult personal blog for me to write, but I do feel that it is worth an explanation.  Today’s REC is about diversity.  We even have the root word “diverse” in our current slogan “a leading advocate for a diverse dial.”  When you visit REC’s website or call up by phone, you hear that slogan.

If you were around for the old REC phone line recordings from over 30 years ago, you could have probably painted me as a confused centrist who took extreme opinions on both sides of the spectrum between liberal and conservative.  In this modern day, that rip current has settled down and I very much take a centrist political view.  I still have liberal views on some subjects such as civil rights, choice and the influence of any religion on public policy, but I also have more conservative views on issues such as immigration and the rights of responsible gun ownership. Just like when I propose policy before the FCC, I look at items from a centrist, common-sense point of view. 

If you have been following me for quite awhile, you will know that I rarely bring politics into REC Networks.  Back in the phone days, I was much more political than I am now.  I know that REC-FM does carry some politically controversial shows that are left-leaning, I have yet to find any programs from the right that seem to have any kind of substance that does not belittle any particular minority group, minority religion or the LGBT.  If someone produces such a program, I am interested in hearing it and potentially airing it on REC-FM.

Now, many of you know that I also identify with the LGBT.  That is not something that I am ashamed of, but at the same time, I am not always out there screaming it (even though there have been a few exceptions over the past 35 years). 

With that said, it brings us to the question at hand here.  With June being Pride Month in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans* (LGBT) community, why hasn’t REC jumped on the bandwagon like every other entity that has a logo and turned the REC logo into something with a rainbow in it?  There are two principal answers to this question.

First of all, some (but not all) of the corporations that have “prided” their logo for the month of June do have a very supportive internal channel within their corporations (employee resource groups) to support their LGBT employees and have anti-discrimination policies and specific health care benefits that support LGBT employees.  Second of all, there are some companies that have jumped on board the pride bandwagon as a marketing tool.  Their internal policies and support may be lacking, but they are still trying to attract the significant LGBT dollar.  REC has no employees and we do not reach out to the mainstream general public (except on J1) thus warranting any kind of feeling towards the LGBT community for marketing purposes.

Knowing the reasons why others are flying the rainbow, these are the reasons why REC did not go in that direction.

First of all, REC provides advocacy and services for all 6 segments of LPFM (cause-based organizations, independent media, government, microradio, secular educational and faith-based organizations).  I have even defended right-wing organizations, including those that may be aligned to efforts to legislate people with my medical condition out of existence.  Why do I do this?  Because I put a lot of value on the first amendment and just as much as one organization has a right to run Pacifica programming all day and night, another has the right to run Bryan Fischer and the American Family Association.   To some in Christianity, the rainbow has a sacred meaning.  I point to Genesis 9:13-16 where God says that he set the rainbow to be a sign of the covenant between God and the earth and that whenever the rainbow appears, God will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between Him and all living creatures on earth. 

Second, the rainbow flag symbolizes the so-called “pride” movement. The version of the flag that was popular since 1979 had six stripes that represented life, healing, sunlight, nature, serenity and spirit. Over time, the flag has been turned into a weapon by those who are homophobic and transphobic.  We have seen the symbol desecrated in many ways.  Also, we have seen those who compare the flag as a symbol extreme to the left where the Confederate Battle Flag is seen as a symbol extreme to the right and then considering them both offensive. 

I see the modern Pride movement as nothing but a money making venture that favors those who are more affluent, especially in the (male) gay community that continues to belittle the trans* community by holding supposed “trans-supportive” events and then theming them around drag performance, which sends the wrong message about professional trans* people.  Most of the “pride” festivals have become nothing more than money making mini Coachella style music festivals.  As a trans* professional, this aspect of the Pride movement does not represent me.

The bottom line is this.  I, Michelle Bradley, have my own personal beliefs.  Those personal beliefs are mine and they are deeply held.  I have made the decision this year to not allow REC to take any side in the controversy over the use of the rainbow, nor is REC the kind of a venue that would need to take a non-neutral stance. My personal view is that the only thing that “owns” the rainbow is science but with that, a symbol can have more than one meaning.

REC’s decision to not utilize the rainbow in our marketing (as well as the marketing for J1) for this year’s Pride Month is out of respect for all six of the segments we serve (i.e. faith-based and secular).  REC, as an entity, is staying out of the debate.  I hope both sides can understand and respect my decision on this matter. 

Opinions expressed in this blog do not reflect the views, opinions and positions of REC Networks.