Updated: May 27, 2021
I’ve seen plenty of companies over the years that use language to try and relate to the community. I don’t know if they recruit gays to do this work for them or if it’s just straight people trying to market to the gays. Talking to my queer friends, we all agree that the effort made by companies seems forced and clearly monetarily motivated. While this could be said for basically every word that comes out of these types of companies, it’s just absurdly obvious in these cases. If they were to hire real Gen-Z gays, it might (emphasis on might) be a little less uncomfortably straight. If I were to imagine what it looks like inside of the boardrooms before pride month, here’s what I picture:
OMG, hi girls, gays, and they’s!! It's pride month!! Woohoooo! Time to celebrate you! #loveislove. Okay, that works. Is anyone here actually gay? I’m just spitballing here. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard people say things like that on TikTok. How can we maximize traffic to ensure they’re actually buying our products? I mean, we spent all this time curating an entire pride line, it would be a shame if people didn’t buy it. This month is just such a great opportunity to grow our brand, and it’s a great way to get certain affinity groups on our side. Not to mention that we’ll get free advertising even if the products aren’t good. Wait, what if we shift the focus of our pride merch to be more ‘cringy’. This way, we can blow up on Twitter when the teens start making fun of us. A few hundred thousand likes on Twitter is worth the slights and blows we might endure from a bunch of gay kids on the internet. They really think they’ll ruin us by poking fun at some shirt that says “Sounds Gay, I’m in!”. Can you imagine how much we’d have to spend to get that kind of traction for our normal products? And they’re spreading it around for us. God, I love pride month.
Honestly, Pride month definitely has plenty of great aspects - celebrating where we came from, who rallied for us to get us this far, and just in general taking something that made us different or excluded and turning it into something beautiful. I always like taking the time to look back on gay history and appreciating those who paved the way, as well as giving some perspective on what people went through that made my life as a queer person possible. I love seeing new people come out every year during pride month, as well as pride parades where everyone is just so happy to be out and covered in rainbows, kissing their partners in the streets. All that being said, I don’t really love the whole profiting off of the month that is meant to empower those in the community. Most of these brands aren’t doing much in terms of promoting inclusion, or giving back to the community they’re profiting off of. All they really do is paint everything rainbow and call it #pride. It’s a little embarrassing. If you want to buy something that has a rainbow exploded all over it (I’ll probably be doing the same), there are a bunch of companies doing this that also give back to LGBTQ+ organizations.
Kellogg’s, Gap, and UGG have all pledged to donate thousands of dollars each to GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), which is a wonderful organization. Harry’s, a shaving razor brand, created a pride month set, from which they are donating all profits to the Trevor Project. Doc Marten’s is also donating to The Trevor Project, in the amount of $100,000.
That being said, I’d like to emphasize that the marketing and merchandising of pride month is not what this month is really all about. It’s celebration of what makes us different, and where we can find similarities in ourselves and each other. The middle ground is love. Who we love, how we love, etc. This looks remarkably similar regardless of gender or sexuality.