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5 of the worst corporate marketing gimmicks for LGBT Pride Month
Excuse us while we barf a little.
June is here, which means we’re about to see an onslaught of LGBT Pride Month celebrations nationwide. Mostly, that means drag queen-topped disco floats, sweaty dance parties, and a chance to scope out the crowds for hot newcomers to the gay pride scene.
Unfortunately, Pride Month also brings with it a slew of corporations launching marketing tie-ins, in an attempt to seem gay-friendly and inclusive. By slapping rainbow colors on some crap that was made by an underage factory worker somewhere far away, everyone from Bud Light to Adidas are upping the ante this month, hoping to snatch some of those precious gay dollars.
We found some of the more desperate attempts at pandering to the queer scene and rounded them up in one convenient list.
Are you 50 Shades of Fabulous? If so, there’s a cheap-ass cotton tee waiting for you at Target for only $10. Perhaps you prefer a T-shirt that says “unicorns on fleek,” or maybe you’re more of a rainbow flip-flop kind of guy. You’re gay. It’s June. Give Target all your money.
When regular Converse just aren’t gay enough, you can don a pair of these fugly monsters. The product description on the Converse site says: “Each step we take brings us closer to universal tolerance and equality.” It also brings us $65 closer to increasing Converse profits, too.
Remember how Hillary Clinton didn’t really support same-sex marriage until 2013, prompting The Economist to dub her conversion “farcically late?” Or how fervently she supported the Defense of Marriage Act, which was essentially a federal ban on gay marriage? No? Eh, well, buy a t-shirt and be quiet.
While it’s easy to scoff at mega-corporations cashing in on the Glee era of LGBT acceptance, at least Nike is actually using its pride line to raise money for the community (sort of). Up to $500,000 of the proceeds from this collection will go to the LGBT Sports Coalition, a Nike-founded group that works to end discrimination in athletics. Nike’s also known for donating to LGBT organizations near its Portland headquarters, and for hosting an annual LGBT youth conference at its campus.
However, there’s one caveat: Nike doesn’t actually list where its LGBT-friendly shoes are made. According to Global Exchange, the majority of the company’s shoes are manufactured in Southeast Asian sweatshops where workers are exploited. It’s safe to say, then, that while purchasing a pair of “Be True” sneakers might do some good for a LGBT person here in the United States, it’ll probably screw over a bunch of people in Vietnam.
If you want your shoes to be literally splattered with rainbows like a gay Jackson Pollock painting, then the Adidas Pride Pack is for you. Like Nike, Adidas is also donating partial proceeds to an LGBT-friendly nonprofit called New Avenues for Youth, which runs an alternative high school, case management programs, and job training for homeless and runaway youth. But it’s unclear where the shoes in the Pride Pack are manufactured, since Adidas shoes are believed to be made in about 62 countries worldwide—including in some factories with exploitative labor conditions, like this factory in China.
So instead of giving mega-conglomerate sweatshop overlords your queer dollars, consider buying pride gear directly from some of the nonprofits that work round-the-clock to fight for LGBT civil and legal rights. For instance, GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) has a fully stocked online store, where 100 percent of the proceeds go toward championing the rights of LGBT students in schools. At the PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) store, you can buy a gay t-shirt for your dog that will help fund this awesome queer version of PETA.
And if those aren’t enough options for pride gear, just go naked. That’s the best way to show your pride anyway.
Photo via the Daily Dot
Mary Emily O'Hara is an LGBTQ reporter. Her work has appeared in Rolling Stone, NBC Out, Daily Dot, Broadly, Vice, the Daily Beast, the Advocate, Huffington Post, DNAinfo, Al Jazeera, and Portland's Pulitzer Prize-winning newsweekly Willamette Week, among other outlets.