• Grace

Corporate influence on gays - the positive side - rainbow dollar signs

I personally have mixed feelings about corporations and their involvement in the community. While virtually none of us really like the profitization of pride month, there is clear benefit from a community perspective. There is an interesting relationship between brands, influencers, and LGBTQ+ events where they end up working with one another for their own personal gain.

Just looking back a few decades, there didn’t use to be these corporate sponsors for LGBTQ+ events. These events were funded out of pocket, meaning there were fewer of them (because of where the money came from), and there wasn’t the potential there is today for fundraising and community outreach.

Now, organizations can have dozens of corporate sponsors for events in order to actually turn a profit while making the best events they can. The profit they make can go back to the people who benefit from their organization, such as queer youth, the large LGBTQ+ homeless population, or whomever they aim to help. We, as a community, are becoming more and more mainstream, which is huge. While the monetization of the queer community might seem as though it’s just a marketing ploy, it also has a great deal of benefits for all of us.

Becoming mainstream in the predominantly straight culture leads to destigmatization of the community as a whole. It wasn’t very long ago that pride merchandise would not have been sold anywhere, nor would there have been a huge amount of sales for merch that donates to LGBTQ+ organizations. The reach that this has is not insignificant in terms of acceptance and also in regard to visibility. Being queer youth, it must feel better to at least know that there is a slight reduction in stigma. Kids now can see pride flags plastered all over storefronts in June, something they never would have seen even just 20 years ago.

Pride parades now look different than they did in years past, seeing as there are now sponsored floats and other clearly paid-for aspects of the event. Some parades, namely the pride parade in New York City, uses the Human Rights Campaign’s corporate quality index for corporations that apply to sponsor their event. This index measures how the corporation ranks in terms of its policies regarding LGBTQ+ employees. NYC pride is known to turn down those who rank poorly on this index. This at least shows that there is some consideration for the actual people affected.

However we all feel about the choices some brands make in terms of merchandizing pride month, it still does indicate the improvements to the overall culture in terms of acceptance. With that being said, it is still important to hold companies accountable for treating their LGBTQ+ employees fairly, as well as giving back to the community they aim to profit from.

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