Pride month is over. Pride month, an annual celebration of LGBTQIA+ people around the world, saw parades, pride merchandise and ceremonies honoring pioneering LGBT activists. Pride month is crucial at a time when hundreds of anti-transgender laws are in place across America and the threat that same-sex marriage will be lost due to the conservative Supreme Court.
Companies have tried to capitalise on Pride Month, but it seems that they have lost sight of the needs of LGBT customers. It’s not enough to put rainbow flags on products or say Happy Pride. Although LGBT consumers love to see companies support LBGT causes and are pleased to see them, the marketing of these companies often smacks of “rainbow capitalism”.
What does the LGBT community really want from pride marketing? Brands must be willing to spend their money. They must give back to LGBT communities if they truly believe in LGBT issues. Many LGBT organizations are willing to partner with fashion companies in order to raise funds.
Good news: More brands are joining the fray and doing it right. Abercrombie & Fitch donated 400,000 to The Trevor Project, which is the largest national suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ youth. Adidas has partnered with Stonewall UK, a British LGBTQ advocacy group, and Athlete Ally to combat homophobias and transphobia in sport. American Eagle and the It Gets Better Project funded 50 $10,000 grants for LGBTQ youth in each state of the United States.
The lack of diversity is a problem that pride marketing continues to face for many. Pride marketing campaigns continue to be underrepresented of transgender women of colour, which is why the Pride movement was established in America. Brands must acknowledge that Black trans lives are important. Black transwomen continue to face the highest rates for homelessness, unemployment, incarceration and murder than any other LGBT group. They are also more likely to resort to sex work to survive. Fashion brands can support major LGBT organizations, but they should also be more focused on supporting trans women of color like the Marsha P. Johnson Institute or the Okra Project.
Major brands can help highlight local LGBT organizations by donating money to major organizations. However, this is in addition to helping the fight against LGBT organizations.
LGBT people would love to be consulted in these ad campaigns. If brands want to truly represent the LGBT community, they must be hiring and paying LGBT people. Pride marketing is no longer taboo. However, there are still many things to do. Slowly but steadily, we are making progress.