A few years ago, I ranted about how commercialized Pride has become. That hasn’t changed; if anything, “rainbow capitalism” has tripled in the last four years. Unfortunately, so has discrimination, and there’s been a rise in legislative actions designed to chip away at the rights of the LGBTQ community.
Pride merchandise being everywhere is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the fact that I can buy rainbow “PRIDE” napkins in Wegmans is…nice.
If my child went to school in Florida, he wouldn’t be able to talk about his same-sex parents.
The Ohio House is attempting to pass a law not only banning transgender athletes but also requiring genital exams in the event of a dispute. Again, legislators are passing a law allowing adults to demand to see children naked in case they appear to be transgender.
Also, note that LGBTQ teenagers are FOUR TIMES more likely to attempt suicide than their peers, mainly because they’re growing up in a world where the adults are constantly debating whether or not they deserve to exist.
It’s exhausting. And it’s scary.
And none of that gets changed because a corporation threw a rainbow filter on their logo.
On top of that, it’s painful when a corporation’s Pride Month idea backfires, like in the case of the Tampa Bay Rays. They asked their players to wear a rainbow logo, and several refused because it was against their religious beliefs. What did the Rays organization have to say about that?
The players aren’t homophobic; it’s that there’s “a lot of conversation and valuing the different perspectives inside the clubhouse but really appreciating the community that we’re trying to support here.”
Like how one perspective is “the LGBTQ community has rights,” and the other is “they shouldn’t have rights because my religion says so.”
These two things are not equal at any time, but it’s especially galling to watch corporations try to play a both-sides narrative while also pretending to be supportive of Pride Month.
On the less heavy side of the equation, we have the equally boneheaded but quite entertaining Burger King Austria Whopper ad, which featured Whoppers made of two top buns or two bottom buns.
No, you didn’t read that wrong. Someone at Burger King thought two tops and two bottoms would somehow NOT be seen as a terrible and awkward sex joke. It’s very clear that no one who lives in the modern world looked at or approved this ad.
This Pride 2022, before you click on that “buy our _____, and we’ll give 10% to an LGBTQ group,” widget, maybe consider giving money directly to the charities and organizations instead.
If you need the product that widget is selling, and they’re offering a donation alongside your purchase, that’s great. But what really matters is giving those donations to the organizations out there, making a difference.
Here is a list of a few of our favorites, but this list is by no means exhaustive:
The Trevor Project: As we shared above, LGBTQ youth are significantly more at risk of suicide and depression. The Trevor Project is a suicide and crisis prevention hotline that provides critical support.
The Ali Forney Center: This is a NY-based organization dedicated to helping homeless LGBTQ youth.
Lambda Legal: They are dedicated to protecting LGBTQ folks, providing lobbying for our civil rights, and pro bono legal work.
GLSEN: Schools should be a safe space for all kids; GLSEN helps make sure schools are safe places for LGBTQ students of all ages.
SAGE: Everything from the medical world to the legal ins and outs of retirement is very heteronormative/cisnormative. SAGE aims to make aging smoother and easier for LGBTQ seniors.
Pride Center of NJ: This is a local organization, but they provide all kinds of support and community to people in the NJ area, and if you are local, they’re definitely worth supporting!
If we missed any organizations or if there are any favorites that you would like to share, please do so in the comments below.