In Zionsville, Indiana, just north of Indianapolis, the owners of a jewelry store are supporting the LGBTQ+ community with some small but mighty agitprop.
The little stickers, about the size of a silver dollar pancake, shout, “Say Gay.”
Robert and Rose-Marie Goodman felt compelled to print up the custom-designed stickers following the passage of legislation through Indiana’s House of Representatives that would force teachers and administrators in the state to notify parents when their kids change gender or pronoun identities.
House Bill 1608 passed the Indiana House last Thursday.
By Friday, the Goodmans had a cache of 400 stickers on hand to share with customers.
“The people that are coming in are incredibly supportive,” Robert Goodman told LGBTQ Nation. “Zionsville has supported us for 21 years now. It’s a great community. It’s all been positive.”
The couple are fierce in their condemnation of the wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in Indiana and state houses across the country.
“It’s hate, pure and simple,” says Goodman. “They can’t accept that some people do things in a way that they don’t, and in a way that they may not understand.”
The couple has made social activism an integral part of their business model since opening in 2002.
At the front door, customers are met with signs declaring the store as a “Gun free space” and stating “Hate has no home here,” in addition to the new “Say Gay” sticker.
Inside, customers see a Pride Flag and a Black Lives Matter sign.
“We don’t shy away from talking about these types of topics,” Goodman says. “We talk about systemic racism, and the need to end it. We talk about books. We have a lending table with Ruby Bridges [the first Black child to integrate an all-white New Orleans school in 1960] and a book called New Kid [about a Black student at a mostly white private school], a Newspaper. We’ve got both one and two of Maus [a two=part graphic novel about the Holocaust]we’ve got another book called Daddy and Dada, All Are Welcome, Heather Has Two Mommies, All Boys Are Blue [all LGBTQ+-themed books for young people]. You get the point, right?”
The couple regularly holds events for Ramadan and Hanukkah, while their jewelry selection includes a focus on Black designers and sustainable designs with “low environmental impact” and “more community benefits.”
“I’m sure there are people who don’t approve of what we think, and they may not come into our store, but that’s their choice. That’s what free choice is all about, isn’t it? To choose where you go and whom you do business with, and we respect that,” Goodman says.
“But why aren’t all of these legislators focusing on the positive?” he added. “Why aren’t they looking at people and trying to see what positives they are doing in their communities, rather than thinking they’re going to hurt kids and make things up.”
The Goodmans’ intention is to lift people up, not tear them down.
“That’s part of being a human being,” Goodman says. “We have to stand up for others.”
“The goal here is to celebrate,” he adds. “And what better way to celebrate than having the stickers?”
Goodman says the artwork is available to anyone who asks, at the store or online, and they’ll keep printing them to keep up with demand.
“We have an Instagram post that went up yesterday,” Goodman says, “and I’ve only got one guy who made negative comments.” The jeweler pauses to laugh. “He told us to move to San Francisco.”