North Texas Daily

Corporations don’t belong at Pride

Corporations don’t belong at Pride

Corporations don’t belong at Pride
July 12
19:20 2019

When the clock strikes midnight on June 1st every year, I wait and watch on Twitter as every brand, every company dons the signature rainbow of Pride month.

I watch this and feel conflicted. On one hand we are living in a decade with the highest levels of acceptance pretty much ever.

So it can be nice to see companies embracing the rainbow. On the other hand it’s really just a marketing strategy.
What’s more nefarious to me is the co-opting of Pride month by alcohol companies given the fact that it’s estimated that 20 to 30 percent of all LGBTQ adults in the US have a substance abuse problem.

This problem is only exacerbated when considering that most, if not all, LGBTQ spaces are bars which makes it difficult for members of the community under 21 to feel included and further alienates those struggling with sobriety.

But as long as corporations can boost their profit margins for some piss masquerading as beer by pretending to be pro-LGBTQ they don’t much care.

Brands know the common consumer these days embraces the idea of “wokeness.” They want the brands they use to believe in the same causes they, as consumers, do, but even that is really just performative.

Corporations show up to Pride and march in our parade seemingly pro-LGBTQ but then when you look at their business practices they are very much not that. If corporations like Wal-Mart are going to continue popping up at Prides nationwide then they could at least show the LGBTQ community the common courtesy of lobbying for anti-discrimination laws nationwide.

Wal-Mart and other corporations like them could also start with their own companies as sources of change by implementing training and regulations that deal with LGBTQ discrimination.

But they won’t because to them we’re just another target group they want to profit off of.

Never mind the fact that the t-shirts stamped with rainbows and Pride slogans are probably made by an 8-year-old paid 50 cents an hour in a Bangladesh sweatshop. Or that as Pride gets more corporate, more “mainstream” the farther and farther from its roots it gets. Pride as it currently stands today feels more like a PR parade for various organizations.

What’s more is that corporations at Pride serve as a distraction from the real issues at hand. The transgender community is facing a rise of hate crimes and murders. LGBTQ rights are being curtailed. Racism, ableism and transphobia are rampant within the community. These are things we should remember, focus on and talk about during Pride.

Corporations trying through ad campaigns to tell us how far we’ve come and putting “love is love” on t-shirts to build a loyal customer base isn’t what we need at Pride. Target can keep their sweatshop shirts. Don’t throw a rainbow on a white shirt and call it “Pride.” Throw up a quote from legendary gay author James Baldwin and give 100 percent of the proceeds to charities which help the LGBTQ community.

The first Pride was a riot, but now 50 years later it’s supposed to be about celebrating the LGBTQ community, the struggles we have overcome and the struggles we have yet to face.

Featured Image: An LGBTQ+ flag flowing high at A Night Out On The Square, an event created by Pridenton held at the Denton City Courthouse lawn in Denton, Texas on June 28, 2019. Photo by Bertha Smith.

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Emilia Capuchino

Emilia Capuchino

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