Lobbying for the rights of the persecuted is usually considered a noble endeavor, but when the persecuted are defined as Americans sporting a handlebar, a Fu Manchu, or a pencil mustache, it might seem a little ridiculous.
And it kind of is. But it also kind of isn’t. Aaron Perlut is the chairman of the American Mustache Institute, where he “campaigns against anti-mustache discrimination across the land—he's saved jobs from threatening employers and high school careers from anti-mustache deans—and generally tries to revive the 'stache as a prominent element of American male fashion.”
During a tongue-in-cheek, but at times serious, interview with The Atlantic, Perlut described how he has saved peoples’ jobs and preserved certain rights by lobbying on their behalf. For example, a 16-year-old in the Royce City school district in Texas was removed from his high school class because of a policy banning mustaches. The AMI fought for his cause, the policy was overturned, and the kid became somewhat of a hero among his classmates.
In the end, though, it seems like the AMI is unsurprisingly about having a good laugh about the absurdity of certain facial hair fashions. Each e-mail sent out by the organization includes this disclaimer after the sign-off:
AMI supports healthy, performance enhancing-free mustaches that contain no pesticides. While the vast majority of mustache wearers have highly positive responses from friends, exotic dancers and grade school teachers, mustaches should be worn at your own risk, understanding that AMI is not responsible for mustaches that make men look like child molesters or Dave Navarro. Wearing a "Dictator" mustache may lead to repeated beatings, and women are encouraged to avoid wearing mustaches if looking for male companionship or hoping to find employment outside of waste collection.
Source: The Atlantic