For Just 19.95, You Too Can Have Pride

This past weekend in my ‘berg and many other cities around the nation and world, it was the celebration of Pride Month. June marks the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that occurred in New York in 1969 and were largely credited with kicking off the LGBT Equality movement. This movement has been so successful and powerful that now Pride events everywhere are being subjected to corporatization. At the march in my town, a cellphone service company took a spot in the parade, expressing their support for the gay community and their “bear of a deal” on wireless plans.

I have heard complaints and laudations of this corporate infiltration of a civil rights movement, and I get both sides. It seems like corporations are pandering and usurping a minority group’s struggle, commodifying a human rights narrative. It’s like gentrifying a protest.

Guys, pivot your stylish loafers and khaki cargo shorts, you’re going the wrong direction. Catch up to the sensible polos of your coworkers, and don’t forget to mention the 40% off if you apply for a Macy’s card today.

There’s also nothing worse than having a good time interrupted by a commercial. Get out of here, local credit union, we’re trying to do jello shots while rollerskating wearing elaborate wings, a studded codpiece and nothing else. It’s a celebration of the sexuality that society continues to marginalize and demonize, it’s not a time for your low low APR home refi!

Then again, it’s pretty awesome that society has progressed so far that companies feel not only safe but compelled to market to the LGBT community and its allies. In the 90s I couldn’t conceive of Senate and Mayoral candidates marching alongside drag queens throwing condoms at families watching the festivities on the roadside in the deep South. But those are the pictures I’m seeing in the local newspaper under a positive, supportive headline. It gives me a sense of hope.

This idea of corporate activism is, well, transparent, and ultimately a positive sign of progress, provided it doesn’t completely dilute or derail the movement. “Well, Geoff, we lost our right to use bathrooms in public, adopt so much as a dog and risk getting murdered for expressing our affection for one another in public, but hey, Shipley’s has rainbow frosted donuts for a limited time only, so I’d say our efforts were successful and we can sell all of our protest arts and crafts to the indigenous people.”

Also, is there a way for me to get in on this? Dear corporations trying to exploit people’s passions, identity politics, cis-guilt, and empathies, I’m pretty good at it and I work cheap. I’ve worked in non-profits for a very long time and have been leveraging my amoral principles to support causes through the justification of the actions of profiteers for even longer. Gimme a try.

My subtle homage to Adam West.

What’s your industry? Banking? “A line of credit is perfect for those who refuse to be labeled. Use that money for what you want. You do you.”

Auto sales? “We’re bi, we love domestic and imported cars…and Subarus, lots of Subarus.”

Golf course? “Sink it in all of our holes.” That one was a gimme. “Practice your long game with us.” I barely hit par on that one.

Restaurant? “Have breakfast for dinner, we don’t care, we’ll conform to you.” By the way, why can’t restaurants and fast food joints serve breakfast foods all day? What the hell is going on in kitchens that they aren’t able to deep fry hash browns in the same vat as fries?

I really just want to work from home and will literally sell out any group if it means I don’t have to commute anymore. Please understand, LGBTQIA community (and all the initials I regret missing), I spend hours in my car every day. Can’t you see that I am the one suffering here? Just let me shamelessly niche market to you.

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9 Comments

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  1. Debra She Who Seeks June 12, 2017 — 7:17 am

    Yeah, it’s true. The corporate presence at Pride is a two-edged sword alright.Thirty years ago not one of those bastards would touch our community with a 10-foot pole and now they can’t love us enough. On the other hand, they cough up dough now for our community groups and activities, which is good. I do feel conflicted at the Pride Parade though (which was on Saturday here in Edmonton), so I only wave my rainbow flag for LGBT* groups and our less-self-serving allies like church groups, not for the commercial allies of convenience.

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  2. When rainbow-ish Budweiser ads started popping up in my neighborhood a few years back, there was a moment or two of resentment. Now, granted, my neighborhood was along the parade route back then, but still.

    And then I realized that this is supposed to happen. If we can finally reach a point where LGBT is a marketing demographic, then they have been mainstreamed into American life – which I also have mixed feelings about, not being a big fan of mainstream American life, but whatever.

    Plus, in recent years, rainbow-oriented ad campaigns by Doritos and Oreos, among others, have sent the breitbart crowd into a complete tizzy, so some good has come out of it.

    Good luck subverting some of those big corporations ill-gotten gains.

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  3. Corporations are weaseling into everything. It’s all about sell, sell, sell. Screw the little guy.
    Happy Pride Month darlin!

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  4. abeerfortheshower June 12, 2017 — 10:59 am

    I know exactly what you mean. It’s the same with music, too. Lady Gaga was (seemingly) the first to be really mainstream and genuinely supportive, so much so that she even wrote LGBT themed songs like Born This Way. Really championed the cause. But now that’s just a gimmick that female pop stars like to try to exploit to get a huge gay following – act like you’re doing this all just for them, perform in gay clubs, attend gay charities, etc. And they probably are being supportive, but they’re also exploiting these people for their own gain in the name of money and fame.

    I should know, says the guy who’s managing a pop star. That’s all I’m going to say.

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  5. And when four large gay-hating men are chasing one small Latino gay man, if the gay guy runs in the doors of the cell phone company or Macy’s or whatever, will the manager come out to save him and make sure he gets home safely, after turning the four big gay-hating men into the police?

    Love,
    Janie

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  6. Yeah, like the commenters above me, my feelings are mixed. Overall, i think its a sign of progress. However, we also need to push they companies to actually have better representation. Nothing like companies owned and run by men supporting women’s history month. I mean yeah, that’s a good first step…but how about putting a lady on your board (or a minority, or lgbt*, etc)?

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  7. I don’t know what to say so all I will say is that I was here

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  8. You’re right; it’s progress but it does not exactly feel genuine, more like “hey, this is what the cool kids are doing so we better get in on this!”
    On the work front, I understand your pain. I spent years commuting and now I work from home. It’s pretty awesome. Except I think I’m turning into a hermit…but still awesome.

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