By: Laura Oris-Naidenova, Cole Schankula, Himisha Nagar, Arshdeep Raul, Haokun Qin
Remember PRIDE month? It was less than two weeks ago, and yet somehow, it seems as though everyone’s already forgotten about it.
Throughout the month of June, you might notice PRIDE signs hung up in every retail store in your local mall. Corporations boast costly floats during pride parades, and the symbolic support that companies show for the LGBTQ+ community is immense. Unfortunately, the advocacy shown by major corporations only lasts for the month, and is then forgotten about for the rest of the year.
PRIDE month is an excellent way to celebrate the history and victories of the LGBTQ+ community, but we can’t forget the real reason it exists in the first place: to address the ongoing work for acceptance and equality.
Understandably, there are still a lot of people that are uneducated about the LGBTQ+ community, which could be seen by corporations as an opportunity to raise awareness. But actions speak louder than words, and publicity campaigns aren’t actually helpful when large corporations detract from their message if they don’t actually support the cause.
As one example, ADIDAS, a multinational apparel corporation, sold a special selection of clothing called "rainbow packs" in June of 2017. However, these packs supported the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which was held in Russia, an openly very homophobic country as seen through their policies.
PRIDE is more than just a marketing scheme to be abused by large companies and other bodies for profit and exposure. It represents the celebration of the triumphs of a group of people who have been systematically oppressed around the world for generations.
This is not to say that support for corporations is unwelcome; that would be wholly counterproductive. Simply, that if they do wish to voice their support, they ought to do so in a way which is unabashed and genuine. The LGBTQ+ community doesn’t simply disappear once July 1st rolls around, and it’s high time we start acting as such.