Xtra Weekly
2 min

A roundup on rainbow washing this Pride month

Here’s your Xtra Weekly, June 28

Credit: Nick Lachance/Xtra, Francesca Roh/Xtra

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World Pride is happening in New York this weekend, coinciding with the 50-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots. But opportunities to share our communities’ histories have been co-opted by corporations hoping to capitalize on the festivities.

Let me break it down for you 🙋‍♂️Ever since companies recognized the value of the pink dollar, they’ve been using Pride events to persuade LGBTQ2 people to buy their rainbow-themed products. It’s like stores selling Christmas decor except Santa is v woke and he wears sunglasses and holds a rainbow flag.

Trouble is, many of these corporations think celebrating and standing up for LGBTQ2 communities means simply smacking a rainbow sticker on every 👏 single 👏 thing 👏.

For instance, the majority of the 200 groups who participated in the Toronto Pride parade earlier this week were branded, promoting everything from banks to liquor companies to supermarkets positing themselves as #gay (gay-friendly).

Oh yikes. But who’s surprised? Here’s the thing: for years, the LGBTQ2 community has been very vocal about the ways brands capitalize on their identities and marginalization for corporate gain. Article after article have criticized the rainbow washing of Pride. Although a recent US national poll conducted by Whitman Insight Strategies and BuzzFeed News shows 76 percent of the 801 people surveyed say they welcome corporate floats at Pride, it still doesn’t diminish the reality that some brands need to be mindful and…edit.

Earlier this month, Out Magazine’s deputy editor Fran Tirado tweeted: “Happy June to all brands launching a Pride campaign!! A reminder: you are about to capitalize on our identities/marginalization for corporate gain !!! It is therefore worth giving a second thought to your limited edition rainbow product !! Here, let me help!!! 💕”

Tirado then listed the ineffective ways that companies engage with queer communities, including insincere marketing and shady, non-transparent partnerships with LGBTQ2 organizations. He also gave suggestions on how brands could participate with sincerity, like donating 100 percent of profits to a queer organization, hiring queer/trans creatives to develop campaigns and doing advocacy and support for communities beyond Pride month.

Sis, give me the gist. Although some brands actually give back to the LGBTQ2 community, others just slap rainbows on their packaging and hire drag queens to shill their products — and some of the results are so bad, they need roasting.

Leave it LGBTQ2 Twitter to turn up the heat:


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