Last night’s Super Bowl was one for the record books, and it’s not just because of the Patriots’ incredible comeback victory. Here are five pro-equality moments you might’ve missed:
1. Lady Gaga
Took a bathroom break during halftime? Ran out to pick out some pizza? Then you MUST watch Lady Gaga’s incredible halftime performance. During the show, the bisexual pop star highlighted the LGBTQ community in her song Born This Way. This is especially moving considering the location of the Super Bowl: anti-equality Texas lawmakers are continuing their campaign to codify discrimination against LGBTQ people into law during their 2017 legislative session.
2. The Teams
The Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots have recently championed LGBTQ equality and inclusion. Last year, when Georgia was on the verge of passing a law that would have given businesses the right to discriminate against LGBTQ people, the owner of the Atlanta Falcons voiced his opposition. The Patriots have also taken strong LGBTQ equality positions as a franchise. They signed onto a Supreme Court marriage equality amicus brief in 2015. Last year, they became the first NFL team to publicly support statewide transgender protections.
3. George Takei
Openly gay actor and advocate George Takei, who is also a longtime HRC supporter, starred in a Pizza Hut commercial that was played in prime-time last night. Takei was honored at HRC’s second annual Time to THRIVE conference in 2015. He is an outspoken activist for the LGBTQ community, speaking out on Indiana’s discriminatory Religious Freedom Restoration Act and supported The People’s Brief in preparation for the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality.
4. The Ads
During the Super Bowl, several companies stood up for equality and inclusion with powerful and poignant advertisements. Notable were Airbnb’s “#WeAccept” ad, which said “We believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love or who you worship, we all belong. The world is more beautiful the more you accept.” 84 Lumber’s ad, which was shortened for television, depicts a Latinx mother and daughter traveling to the United States. Coca Cola, Google and Budweiser also made powerful statements with their advertisements. Airbnb, Coca Cola, Budweiser and Google received a 100 on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, which is the national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices pertinent to LGBTQ employees. More on the legal brief from The Washington Post and more on Super Bowl advertisements from The New York Times.
5. The Audience
Several LGBTQ and allied celebrities were in the audience. Most notably in the crowd was longtime HRC supporter Sir Elton John. Other pro-equality stars, including Lea Michele, Shaquille O’Neal and Ruby Rose, were in Houston for Super Bowl parties and events throughout the weekend.