Woody and the rest of the "Toy Story" crew shill for Burger King, Apple, eBay, FAO Schwarz, Fisher-Price and even Sharpie via a Disney/Pixar trilogy lousy with product placements. But when the animated wooden cowboy encourages bullied kids to not commit suicide, that's when adults have a problem.
Not a lot of adults, mind you. Anecdotally at least, it didn't seem to bug most adults who caught Woody's cameo in a Google Chrome commercial featuring Dan Savage's "It Gets Better Project" that aired during last week's "Glee."
"omg that google chrome commercial is eye-watering stuff but ESPECIALLY WHEN WOODY FROM TOY STORY POPS UP ;___; aaw omg" one of many teary-eyed viewers posted on Twitter.
She and countless others were moved to tweet by the Google Chrome ad that featured video clips of regular Joes and Janes and a smattering of celebrities (including Lady Gaga, Adam Lambert and of course, Woody) encouraging gay and transgendered kids to survive the bullies of childhood and adolescence.
Woody knows you're better than that.
"Totally caught me too. Really surprised Disney execs let Woody in there, but totally touched," tweeted another.
Of course Disney, which has provided same-sex couple employee health benefits since 1996 and offers high-end "Fairy Tale Wedding" packages to couples whether gay or straight, is cool with loaning out Woody. (It's not like Woody can do it on his own. Because he's a cartoon.)
Who wasn't cool with it? Alan Chambers of Exodus International, reports Caitlin Dickson of Atlantic Wire. "Remember Exodus International? The ministry that recently released and then lost an iPhone app that taught how to convert gay people to heterosexuality?" Dickson reminds us.
Yeah. That dude.
"Children all over the world, including my two children are fans of 'Toy Story' and to see a character like that endorsing something that at this point children have no need to know about, it’s disappointing," Chambers told the Christian Post in a story titled "Google, Woody endorse homosexuality in new ad."
Chambers says he "overcame homosexuality," and told the Christian Post "we have to promote the stories of people who have found an alternative to homosexuality," and that churches need to do better job at addressing issues related to bullying."
Indeed, bullying is a problem, and there are heterosexual It Gets Better supporters who lament that the project doesn't address bullying victims regardless of orientation. Note: Those organizations exist en masse.
It Gets Better serves a small percentage of youth that have a disproportionate number of runaways as well as suicides. It's also the most widely publicized outreach program for LGBT kids, a traditionally underserved group that faces unique circumstances. They are likely bullied by their parents, church or teachers, as well as their peers. Even the government denies this demographic its full civil rights.
Kids in the youngest "Toy Story" demographic who know they're different aren't thinking about having sex, as Chambers seems to believe when he says Woody, as an It Gets Better spokes-toy, is "endorsing something at this this point children have no need to know about."
Many kids already "know about it"— most not in the way Chambers seems to imply. It Gets Better launched after several suicides by kids and teens bullied by gay-bashing, and as long as there are adults who ignore the lack of evidence supporting "conversion therapy" and its potential damage, we need Woody.
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