Every year when Pride Month rolls around, there are rainbows everywhere. While this visibility is great for the LGBTQ+ community, these pride logos and flags can be glaring signs of performative activism from big corporations. While it can be convenient to go into Walmart or another big brand to grab a Pride T-shirt, we’re going to look at how big corporations are using Pride Month for money, and behind the scenes are doing the exact opposite of supporting gay rights.
Big Corporations That Are Using Pride For Money
Why do McDonald’s, Walmart, and Amazon celebrate Pride month if they donate to politicians who voted against the Equality Act? That’s because they’re not celebrating Pride, they’re exploiting it.
— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) June 7, 2021
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Corporate Equality Index is “the national benchmarking tool on corporate policies, practices, and benefits pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees.” This index gives major corporations a score out of 100% which is the best score and points out companies that don’t support LGBT causes. While this is seen as one way to see how corporations treat the LGBTQ+ community and their employees, a new investigation from Popular Information reported on by Jezebel, found that this index does not take political donations into its scoring system. In this investigation, it was found that many corporations that scored 100% were donating to Congress members who scored 0% on the HRC Congressional scorecard and legislators who have sponsored anti-trans legislation.
This means that even if a major corporation scored 100% on the HRC index, there is still a chance that they are putting their money toward anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. On this list is Walmart who “donated at least $442,000 to 121 politicians who received a zero rating from HRC and also donated $43,000 to state legislators in Arkansas, North Carolina, and Texas pushing for anti-trans legislation.” But at the same time, Walmart has a Pride section where you can buy LGBTQ+ themed party supplies, clothes, accessories, and more. Clearly, they think it is OK to put hundreds of thousands of dollars toward anti-LGBTQ+ legislation while flying their Pride flags so people will purchase their products, which is a blatantly obvious form of performative activism.
This is only one example and you can read about more of these corporations like CVS and Wells Fargo in the full Popular investigation.
Big Corporations That Are Actually Supporting Pride
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Unlike Walmart and the other brands that were investigated by Popular, there are some big corporations out there that are supporting LGBTQ+ communities this month. Old Navy has recently come out with their Project WE collection, in which they worked with “diverse artists to honor International Women’s Day, Juneteenth, LatinX Heritage Month and other cultural touchstones.” Their Pride T-Shirt was designed by queer artist Edward Granger and the WE collection will put $1 Million to Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Another company doing good for the LGBTQ community is Skittles, which gave up its rainbow to shine a light on the Pride rainbow. There Skittle Pride Packs put $1 from every purchase to GLAAD, up to $100,000. UGG is also donating up to $125,000 to GLAAD, with their Pride Disco Stripe Slides. Dr. Martens is donating up to $100,000 to the Trevor Project with their 1461 For Pride Smooth Leather Oxford Shoes.
LGBTQ+ Owned and Run
Even with complex systems like the HRC Indexes, it can feel impossible to know if big corporations are putting their money where their mouth is. And while some big corporations are donating a ton of money to great charities, you might want to put your money straight to the source. During Pride Month, it is best to put your money toward LGBTQ+ owned businesses who will appreciate the sales and Pro-LGBTQ+ charities and funds.
Here are a few:
Did we miss anything? Keep the conversation going in the comments below and happy Pride Month from Monet!
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