A Local Woman Complains About Lesbian DTF Bus Ad, But TriMet Says There’s Nothing It Can Do

“As a member of the LGBTQIA community this is VERY offensive. "

Portland is known for having a seedy history, and it's still the reigning strip club capital of America.  

Still, a local woman was disturbed by the OkCupid ad she saw on a TriMet bus yesterday.

The ad features a lesbian couple next to the bold letters, "DTFall Head Over Heels."

And to Twitter user Theresa O., it was grossly offensive.

She tweeted at TriMet, "As a member of the LGBTQIA community this is VERY offensive. It's also inappropriate to have DTF in an ad that minors see on a daily basis. #dobetter."

She added, "You realize what DTF stands for, right?"

"Yes, I do know," the person manning the TriMet help account responded, after apologizing and offering a link to its advertising policy, which says that due to free speech laws the agency must "permit almost any message in the advertising space on its vehicles."

Theresa, who declined via Twitter messaging to disclose her last name, told WW that her issue was both with the advertisement's message—that the women were "down to fuck"—and the image used.

"While I'm thrilled more companies are featuring ads with LGBTQIA couples," Theresa wrote in a letter of complaint to OkCupid, "the image of two women in a passionate embrace has a lot of issues going on. As a queer woman married to another woman, I am very familiar with how society (especially heterosexual men) view lesbians and fantasize them. This image plays to the straight male audience with the hands on the butt and the stereotypical masculine hero/femme damsel in distress scenario."

Theresa says she also left a complaint on the OkCupid Facebook page, but has heard no response.

As far as the sexual bus advertisement is concerned, Theresa tweeted to TriMet that she'd be "looking further into" the free speech court ruling that bars public transit from prohibiting such messages.

According to OkCupid's CMO, Melissa Hobley, this isn't the first Portland complaint the dating site has received about its DTF campaign.

Coffee sleeves with the sayings DTFight about the President and DTFilter out the Far Right were rejected at a handful of local coffee shops, Hobley says, and billboards with the same slogan were banned at Southwest Alder.

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She adds that the brand has been surprised by the local reaction to the campaign.

"Our goal with the image was to show romance and bringing the chivalry back to dating no matter the sexual orientation," Hobley says. "The multiple hands are meant to show their strong connection in love, our intent was not for it to come across as ass grabbing."