For LGBTQ+ people, being queer isn’t a one-and-done proclamation but a continual series of comings out—to family, to old friends, to co-workers, to new friends. And for their supporters, that could mean allyship isn’t just a one-time act or word of encouragement—but a commitment to backing their loved ones consistently, through whatever new challenges may come their way.
Such is the subject of a new campaign from Oreo and PFLAG National. "The Note” is the inaugural video of Oreo and PFLAG’s “Lifelong Ally” partnership, an initiative to showcase stories from LGBTQ+ people and provide education around active and consistent allyship, whether it’s Pride month or one of the eleven others.
Conceived by queer creators Alice Wu, who wrote and directed “Saving Face,” and Devon Hong, executive creative director at 360i, “The Note” is the story of a young Chinese American man who has already come out to his parents and siblings but has yet to do so with his extended family, including his grandmother. In it, he practices a speech, tied to both to his sexual identity and heritage. The artfully selected details—close ups of his shaking leg, his mother’s watching eyes, a steaming kettle, a finger bending the teeth of a comb—round out a tense scene.
But those are balanced by other cues—photos of the young man, held to the fridge with an “I love you Dad” magnet and his mother, sitting by his side as he goes over his words, show he has the full backing of his closest loved ones. The doorbell then rings and when he glances down at his speech again, he finds a note of encouragement.
“She might be my mother, but you are my son," his mother has written.
The video concludes with the message, “Coming out doesn’t just happen once. Be a lifelong ally,” followed by a rainbow stack of Oreos in the shape of a heart.
“‘The Note’ isn’t a story about a young man coming out," said Hong in a statement. "It’s about a mother caught between two generations and choosing to stand by her son—a theme that my own mother struggled with. I’m so fortunate to be able to tell this deeply personal story and I hope it encourages more allies to go to bat for their LGBTQ+ loved ones. And with the recent uptick in anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, we need allies more than ever.”
The campaign’s website offers resources on allyship and how to support LGBTQ+ loved ones. As part of the campaign, the brand will also donate $500,000 to PFLAG.
“Through this film and campaign, we hope to build on the allyship narrative we’ve developed with PFLAG National by bringing attention to the importance of lifelong allyship," added Olympia Portale, senior brand manager for Oreo. "Consistent, ongoing support and public acceptance are a crucial part of being an active ally. We hope that any parent, family, or friend of an LGBTQ+ person—no matter where they are on their allyship journey—who watches ‘The Note’ will be inspired to be an ally, time and time again. Not just for the first coming out. But for the second and third, too.”
The campaign builds on previous work Oreo has done with PFLAG National and joins other campaigns speaking out during a time when homophobic legislation and proposals have become frighteningly common.