At one of my day jobs, which I will not name, Pride is a big deal. The company in charge lets employees wear buttons identifying their pronouns, make gender-expressive alterations to their uniforms and for Pride, they are allowed to celebrate and decorate as they see fit. Customers are offered the same freedoms, including gender-inclusive restroom signs. However, this year things were taken a step further during Pride month with a Pride-specific product. Things have gone from feeling genuine to being more of a cash grab. Unless you’ve kept your head in the sand, you’ve seen this same behavior from other companies.
In a new segment for The Daily Show, correspondent Dulcé Sloan discussed the history of companies advertising to the LGBTQ+ community. Without spoiling too much, just know that Absolut Vodka is the real ride-or-die ally. There have been companies that have dipped their toes into the gay market. But gay panic and the frequently sought-after approval of the religious right kept most companies from embracing … all human beings. It’s pretty sh**ty. However, some of what has come from it is even worse.
To put it bluntly, a lot of companies have no chill. Pride is about people celebrating themselves and the people who came before them. It’s about a decades-long fight for equality that is, unfortunately, still ongoing. What we see instead is companies saying, “buy this thing that we made gay now! Yaaaas!” For instance, while Dulcé makes a joke in this bit about adding glitter to a product to make it gay, that’s exactly what the company I work for did.
There is also the problem of companies outwardly marketing toward the LGBTQ+ community while actively donating to anti-LGBTQ+ causes. Someone high up at the company I work for has taken a very public, anti-trans stance. It makes the Pride celebrations on the job ring a bit hollow. There is a lot of good that comes from companies embracing Pride. Getting to see yourself represented in such a public setting is important. It just sucks that it’s less about supporting a community and more about getting that sweet cash.
Header Image Source: Comedy Central