Pride Month is supposed to be a time of celebration for the LGBTQIA+ community, as communities come together to embrace their identities and the freedom to be themselves. However, even during a time like this, corporations have found a way to turn rainbows into dollars. While many have embraced the significance of Pride Month through meaningful actions, some businesses felt the need to capitalize on a newer market in the name of “celebration.”
In the month of June, numerous organizations change their profile pictures on social media to a rainbow-dyed version of their logo. Although it’s true that “it’s the thought that counts,” this act seems to be as effective as doing nothing, because the second we flip the calendar to July, the rainbow vanishes from profile pictures. It seems more like an obligatory performance than an act of sincerity; what’s worse is that more and more companies are participating in these acts as the years roll by.
For a month celebrating freedom and nonconformity, some companies make executive decisions that simply do nothing for the cause. Fast-food chain Burger King debuted the “Pride Whopper” in Austria, featuring double top or double bottom buns. British retailer Marks & Spencer created the “LGBT sandwich,” composed of lettuce, guacamole, bacon and tomato in this specific order. Hotel chain Premier Inn changed its logo to state “Premier Out” as a “clever” play on the idea of “coming out.” The U.S. Marines tweeted out a photo of a helmet with rainbow bullets as an attempt to appeal to the LGBTQIA+ community. The list goes on.
Instead of making questionable decisions that only offer surface-level support to the movement and instead act to capitalize on everything about this new market, corporations should work in meaningful ways to celebrate individuality and freedom. That is not to say, however, that every organization is doing it wrong. Nordstrom made a significant donation to the transgender community through the Trans Lifeline X FOLX Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Care Fund while highlighting brands that were designed by or created for the LGBTQIA+ community. The Body Shop encouraged customers to sign a petition in support of the Equality Act and promised to donate $1 per signature to the Equality Foundation. Cereal company Kellogg’s adopted the slogan “boxes are for cereal, not people,” and donated $3 for every purchase made of the limited edition “Together With Pride” cereal boxes to GLAAD.
Despite the trend in rainbow capitalism, some companies are making meaningful contributions to Pride Month; now, it’s up to us to keep others accountable for doing the same.