Safe sex and natural resources policy converged this past Saturday at the Twin Cities Pride festival, where the Minnesota chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans distributed condoms in wrappers emblazoned with the phrase "Drill, baby, drill!!" in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
City Pages reported on the condoms, which Log Cabin distributed free at its booth in Loring Park in Minneapolis. The text on the condom wrapper added the warning "Just don't spill" to the slogan "Drill, baby, drill," first invoked at the 2008 Republican convention by former Maryland lieutenant governor and current Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele. Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin helped to popularize the phrase, which calls for more exploration of domestic oil and gas reserves, both offshore and on land.
Log Cabin Republicans of Minnesota spokesman Alan Shilepsky told The Advocate that his group, which tries to present something unique every year at Pride, hit on the condom concept in the last several weeks and found it to be in perfect alignment with the national conversation surrounding the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig and the resulting oil spill.
"This one was such a no-brainer," said Shilepsky. "With all the national attention with BP and the Gulf of Mexico and the suspension of any deep-water drilling, and Sarah Palin saying those words, it was like the planets coming into conjunction. What a great way to be in the spirit of pride."
Despite arriving at the idea easily, it took some work to order and prepare the giveaways for distribution. As treasurer, Shilepsky said he received a bill for 1,000 condoms, give or take.
"One of our board members came up with the idea," he said. "He ordered a quantity of condoms and another board member desktop-printed the graphic and we printed them off on labels and then two of our guys spent a lot of time pasting labels onto condoms. We had them there and they went like hotcakes."
The condom was a surprise to Charles Moran, LCR's national spokesman. "We did not know they were coming up with that particular piece of collateral," Moran says. "But we leave it to each chapter to design and produce their own tchotchke outside of what standard Log Cabin-branded materials we provide them for the local pride festivals across the country. Sometimes they are a hit, sometimes not so much, but it gets people talking and having the conversation about what it means to be a conservative in the LGBT movement."
Even Democrats at the Twin Cities pride festival were amused, if not on board with the pro-offshore drilling message, according to Shilepsky.
"Everyone enjoyed it," he said. "It got a rise out of our fifth district congressman, Keith Ellison. He enjoyed it and asked for a couple to take over to the Democratic booth."