ACLU TX - Taking a Seat, Making a Stand (2017) :60 (USA)

GSD&M, a usually quite creative ad agency in the heart of "weird" Austin, created this ad pro-bono together with five-time Academy Award-nominated director Richard Linklater.

The ad was shot in GSD&M's own bathrooms in parts, and the idea is to add a little humor to a serious subject.

GSD&M's CEO Duff Stewart told Advertising age: "Discriminatory legislation is not what this country is about. We need to speak up when we can."


Oh, I agree. But what the agency is speaking up against here is SB6 which they have dubbed "the bathroom bill."

Advertising tends to have a bad reputation due to omissions and spin, and here the spin is that it's all about sitting vs standing in public bathrooms, when the bill encompasses shower rooms, locker rooms, and all changing rooms in schools.

The bill is very clear that "Biological sex" means the physical condition of being male or female, which is stated on a person's birth certificate," thus putting weight on the reality of biology over what anyone might identify as, in terms as clear as the bill can be.

But you wouldn't learn this from this lazily put-together choddy, which suggests that every business will flee tax-haven Texas because some people sit down when they pee. No seriously, the standing vs sitting thing, they actually went there.

Of course, there's a website and a hashtag: #StopSB6, hoping to prompt people to write to their congressman to stop this bill.
Why has this bill even appeared? Well, if you never heard of Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, it's a federal law that states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."
That means you can't lock girls out of school, or scholarship programs, which actually used to be a problem. In fact, discrimination against women and girls is still such a hot topic that advertising agencies usually fawn all over themselves over projects that encourage girls to enter STEM or be the 3%, or #womennotobjects etcetera.

We've come a long way since 1972, baby as the Virginia Slim ads used to say, but discrimination due to a person's sex still happens.


While females historically have faced greater sex restrictions and barriers in education, Title IX benefits men as well, since the goal is to achieve educational equality for all. All of this changed when this guidance letter issued under President Barack Obama was sent out to public schools. The damning part is:

As a condition of receiving Federal funds, a school agrees that it will not exclude, separate, deny benefits to, or otherwise treat differently on the basis of sex any person in its educational programs or activities unless expressly authorized to do so under Title IX or its implementing regulations. The Departments treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex for purposes of Title IX and its implementing regulations.


And with that, the law that was intended to prevent discrimination now enables discrimination.

If women and girls are a class that is not defined by biological reality, but instead a chosen identity, what does it actually mean to be female? Who is female and how can we tell? Female as a term becomes irrelevant, as does being biologically a woman or a girl.


This choddy - complete with horrible piano as they tend to be - never comes close to explaining any of this, but they expect uninformed citizens to write their congressman after seeing a guy in a cowboy hat hammering on about not being like North Carolina in a bathroom.

The website makes it clear that "It is and always will be illegal to harm or harass someone in a restroom," but mentions nothing of situations where young girls and anatomically young boys are nude together in the same changing rooms.

Probably because if they did, not a single parent in Texas would write to their congressmen about this.


Related: years ago the national organisation for marriage also made a choddy for their pet cause, which didn't give you the full story either.

ad agency: GSD&M
Director: Richard Linklater

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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Dabitch's picture

Tragically I just heard that our "anti-bot" comment protector is apparently preventing actual humans from making comments today - and people are trying to comment on this post in particular. I'm turning the anti-bot off for now, so hopefully humans can come play.

Having said that I need to share my irrational hatred (also known as Art Director hives) for the following; The black man bites his bottom lip after delivering his line. Probably to prevent himself from bursting out laughing. The awful piano. The black woman who opens the ad says "keeping transgender people from using bathroom they identify with" - I did not known "transgender" meant that you identified with a bathroom!
The perky girl in the stall who says "and we can take care of ourselves" because sex segregated spaces are apparently insulting for the go-getting perky millennial gal, and now that she has her first job, checkbook and car, she gets to call the shots for everybody. That awful piano. The faulty logic that money would be spent keeping kids out of bathrooms, delivered by the stern "No running in the halls" lady. Did I mention the awful piano?

And wtf is it about Oscar nominated directors who can't direct something with an idea, instead they resort to a shitty choddy?

Sophie Jameson 's picture

It's a dishonest ad for all the reasons given. Most women don't want men in our sex-segregated spaces, regardless of what they're wearing or how they identify. If it's just about peeing, let males and females pee in separate facilities, a system that protects women's safety, dignity and privacy. But of course it's not just about peeing. It's about validation.

Melodee's picture

Admiring the time and energy you put into your blog and in depth information you present.

It's nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn't the same outdated rehashed information. Great read!

I've bookmarked your site and I'm adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

John Stuart Mill's picture

The lengths the current/fad "trans" whacktivists will go to in their efforts to DESTROY the human rights of women & girls is, in a word, appalling. There is absolutely no reason why gender-nonconforming males can't use the men's room. None. There is absolutely no reason why gender-nonconforming males need to impose on real women/girls in our locker rooms, public showers, rape crisis shelters, dorms, etc. None. This isn't about accomodation or fairness. This is about these males trying to FORCE females to validate, enable & pander to their obsessive gender fetish. Oh, hell no!

James Trickery's picture

Good point about the changing rooms, I can't see a red blooded american from Texas agreeing that their daughter should share a changing room with a male her age. I have a stereotypical idea of a man in an oversized cowboy hat getting his shotgun out and running across the ranch when the missus informs him of these new school rules.
Texans might not actually be like that, but it's an amusing image.

I read the news the other day that Title IX "gender" was changed back to "sex", and was utterly stunned that nobody seemed to realize that Title IX under Obama meant that men could apply for women's scholarships, and join women's sports teams. And win women's titles. There's more than peeing on the line here.

Nperez's picture

That's exactly it, this is not about peeing and the agency has simplified the issue to the point of lying. This is about women's sports and women's spaces and women's privacy. If anyone can claim to be a woman, anyone can get a scholarship by doing so.
All the pee speak is annoying too, "spray it to say it", eeew. I notice too that the creative names involved are male - because they've never been vulnerable girls in a shower room at a school. I dare say they have no idea what they are talking about, and I'd prefer it if they stopped speaking for me.

Kissmekatey's picture

"I pee with LGBT" has to be the worst tagline of all time.