This will likely come as no surprise to anyone, but Starbucks' holiday cups are once again prompting scandalized gasps and threats of boycotting from some folks. Not because they don't look Christian enough or because Starbucks hired refugees to serve coffee in them, but because the illustrated hands featured on the color-in cups might potentially belong to a gay couple. And though dissenters are making themselves heard, an overwhelming number of people on social media are here for them.
If you're wondering how folks got lesbians from a pair of drawn hands, the controversy stems back to Starbucks' announcement of the holiday cups. The cup commercial featured illustrations similar to the ones on the cups themselves, and showed everyday people enjoying the holidays — including a lesbian couple sharing a hot drink with their hands overlapping.
Some folks extrapolated from the commercial, noting the similar positioning of the hands on the cups, and eventually the decision was made by social media that the cup's hands, no matter what Starbucks intended them to be, belong to The Gays now.
In an email to Bustle responding to the unofficial theory, a Starbucks spokesperson says, "This year's hand-drawn cup features scenes of celebrating with loved ones — whoever they may be. We intentionally designed the cup so our customers can interpret it in their own way, adding their own color and illustrations." So there you have it, folks. The definitive answer is that if you want the hands to belong to lesbians, they belong to lesbians — but officially, the illustrated hands don't belong to any gender.
After BuzzFeed noted people's celebration of potentially lesbian hands, unhappy coffee drinkers threaded in amongst the joyous, with one tweeting, "I’m going to assume that the allegations on @Starbucks holiday cups are untrue. If true, I will be forced to boycott the company that produces amazing coffee. #BoycottStarbucks possibly?"
Another tweeted, "@Starbucks can’t u guys just make coffee and leave your political crap out of it? I really hope you have alternative non lesbian cups for non gay people. leave coffee out of politics this is getting old! Last year u took away Christmas cups discussing. #boycottstarbucks"
Of course, those asking for non-lesbian (or shall we say... non-lesbean) coffee cups haven't put a damper on lesbian supporters' happiness — or their snarky responses to critics.
Though the cups' design is officially up for interpretation, Starbucks' overall support for the queer community is and always has been concrete. As CNN reported, "In 2011, the company was among a group of 70 businesses and organizations that filed a brief in federal court opposing the Defense of Marriage Act, which restricts the definition of marriage to that between a man and a woman."
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz continued to speak out repeatedly in support of gay marriage prior to its nationwide legalization, which resulted in conservative-driven boycotts, including one put together by the National Organization for Marriage. Investor-analyst Tom Stauber told CNN "something like tens of thousands of people signed on this particular boycott," and that he did see a sales drop because of it.
More recent Starbucks protests have taken, uh, interesting forms, such as the #TrumpCup "protest" from this time in 2016, where Trump supporters showed their displeasure with the company by spending their money on Starbucks coffee and giving baristas "Trump" when asked for their names. Which really showed them.
There's no telling if the Schrödinger's lesbian hands will result in a significant protest or boycott this year, but one thing's for sure: Starbucks' holiday cups will always spark discussion on both sides of the aisle, much like you at your conservative uncle's house this Thanksgiving. Happy holigays, everyone!