BY BRIDGET BRIGHT
On June 29th, Olivia Dwelley shared her summer spiel that has a very similar message to the one you are reading right now. She asked that you learn to become a conscious consumer, to be aware of the corporations you are supporting. and that is to be aware of the corporation you give your money to. My message is just a bit more specific.
Pride Month has ended, and throughout the month of June, I have read up a lot about the LGBTQ community to see what I could do to help celebrate pride and help the community in ways other than just dressing up in rainbow stripes and standing out for a parade.
Through my research and thought processes, I realized that my solution was exactly what I thought it wouldn’t be. I had the thought that dressing in rainbow stripes could be the perfect way to show my support towards the LGBTQ community.
Through many searches and even some phone calls, I found that many of the corporations selling pride collections were teaming up with organizations fighting for LGBTQ rights, therefore wearing a small rainbow on my shirt might just be the call to action I’m looking for.
Let’s look at American Eagle, for example. They have graphic tees with phrases from “love is love” to “the future is equal” to “super gay” and, according to the AE website, 100% of the sales will benefit the It Gets Better Project. Converse is also having a similar campaign where all of the net proceeds of their pride collection will go to LGBTQ youth community partners.
These companies are making the effort to deliver products specifically for the LGBTQ community to both wear in the present and benefit from in the future.
H&M has a pride collection that features LGBTQ icons like Gus Kenworthy, and their website says that 10% the collection’s sales will be donated to the UN Free & Equal campaign for equal rights & fair treatment for LGTBQI+ people. It is definitely not as much as what brands like American Eagle and Converse are doing — but it is still something.
Target, Madewell, Apple, Disney, J. Crew, and Nike are some other major relations that are creating products for pride and giving back to LGBTQ organizations with all or some of their proceeds.
Outside of pride collections and clothing brands, a simple way to help support the LGBTQ community through your dollar is by only supporting corporations that have high ratings on the Human Rights Commission Foundation's 2018 LGBTQ+ Corporate Equality Index. It is a simple read, and in 5 minutes you’ll know which employers treat LGBTQ employees equally to their non-LGBTQ employees, according to the HRC’s ratings.
You will be spending money anyway, why not take a little bit of time to do some research and use it to support corporations share your values.
The reality is that we live in a world that appears to be growing in support of the LGBTQ community. Pride parades and related events throughout the month of June had high levels of attendance. One of the most popular reality TV shows of the year celebrates the talents of queer men. More brands are starting pride collections. That all sounds great, doesn’t it?
Those things are all true, but the LGBTQ community is under attack from the United States government, including the President of the United States. The GOP tried to ban transgender people from serving the military. Also, President Trump fired all members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, a council that served people who have HIV/AIDS which largely affects LGBTQ people.
With Justice Kennedy’s recent announcement of his plan to retire, we face a Supreme Court more likely to make decisions that go against the LGBTQ+ community, For example, we may see more decisions like when the Supreme Court sided with Masterpiece Cakeshop, a bakery that refused to make a gay couple’s wedding cake.
We live in a world that, despite some safe pockets, still has immense bigotry and discrimination. Sometimes, it might seem like the fight against those evils is impossible to combat as one individual, but starting with something as small as buying a sneaker with a rainbow sole or dining out at a restaurant chain that scored a 100 on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, your money can make a powerful impact.