Treated Like We Did Something Wrong is a short film directed by Daniela Sherer that explores an important issue of human rights. The film retells a true event in which a gay couple were planning their wedding day. Amongst the softer, happier details of their special day of love, there was a nasty comment made, that launched at them like a weapon. This form of discrimination was not what they expected and it came from a person they never would’ve expected to imply such ignorance. The film plays out the couple’s struggle through beautiful animation and it becomes a plea for love above all else.
One thing I really enjoyed about this piece was the animation and how light it felt. It was simplistic and used a very soft color palette. I think the decision to do that was part of the overall message of love. This film is not about growing hate out of hate. It’s not about violence. It mentions an injustice that needs to be fought, but the message of this film is love. At one point, there is a scene of a hand piping the word love in blue icing. It’s saying that love is important because it is apart of who we are and we should not have to hide it so that others can feel more at peace. Love is special and it is worth protecting and defending. If it has been disrespected or degraded, we need to stand up for it and fight for it.
As the mom points out, the fact that they were in a cake shop when this discrimination happened was unsettling. Of course, discrimination can happen anywhere and in the back of our minds, most of us know that. Yet, we don’t actually register the extent of the discrimination or how negatively it can affect us until it happens to us as opposed to someone we know. The setting of a cake shop, for example, is a place of comfort and delight. Especially since this couple are getting married, the cakes become a sort of sentimental trophy to mark the big day. They’re probably so excited to pick all these details that they’re completely caught off guard by the cruel comment.
The woman’s voice mentions that they all froze after the owner refused to make a cake for the couple. I thought that was interesting because it’s true of real life when someone experiences a situation so uncomfortable they don’t know how to react to it. In my own experience, I’ve had moments where the same thing happened to me where I just couldn’t find the words to defend myself. It’s not that the words don’t exist or that we should just be passive in these times of verbal abuse. It’s just that we can be caught off guard by discrimination in any form because part of us believes we are safe and that the world accepts us for being different. The truth is that for as many people who are accepting and supportive of who we are, there are people out there that despise us for being slightly different and they want to let us know. Their anger is invasive and irrelevant to our ideas of who we are. Yet, a hurtful comment, whether said by a friend or stranger, still cuts deep. I’d just like to say that there is no shame in freezing up and not being able to say anything in response. How are we supposed to prepare ourselves for such severe cynicism? We shouldn’t have to be thinking about ways to answer those comments because we should be too busy enjoying our lives, free of negative people that want to crush our individuality.
What is important is to remember to do something if something can be done long after the incident is over. What I found so inspirational about this film is that it’s actually trying to do something outside of just making a cool, short film. It’s a plea for love and it’s actually a court case. So, what this film is doing is trying to raise attention to this issue. My favorite line is when the mom says “I’m hoping there’s a precedent set. It’s not about a cake. It’s not about artistic expression. It’s about human rights.” At the end of the day, that is such an important issue that gets overwhelmed by things like money. For the mom, she just wants her son to enjoy his wedding day and celebrate who he is. That is something that shouldn’t even be a thing that requires a court case.
This couple was treated like they did something wrong when the message was love. That is perhaps the thing I have the hardest time wrapping my mind over with any form of homophobia. I don’t understand or agree with hating on two people who are in a healthy, happy relationship and are trying to simply express their love for one another. They’re sending out love and all they get is apprehension and anger. There are people who find their union offensive or simply “wrong” is how most homophobic people describe it. That reason for why they take offense with the couple is not just weak because of how vague it is. It’s an awful answer because it has nothing to do with the couple as people in love.