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Pride month flooding with rainbow-washed companies

Pride+month+flooding+with+rainbow-washed+companies
Wild Salubre

With Pride month approaching in June, consumers should be conscious of “rainbow-washing” and companies’ performative activism. Many corporations “rainbow wash” themselves by using pride flag colors in their logos and products that are advertised as supporting the LGBTQ community, although not truly devoted to the cause. These companies disregard the importance of Pride Month and the struggles of the queer community by exploiting their annual movement. If companies want to show support for the LGBTQ+ community, it is necessary for them to help out the queer community in more ways than just the “representation” in their products.

Companies like Walmart or Target are especially notorious for their rainbow washing. They produce excessive amounts of rainbow clothing and merchandise to capitalize on the growing support for the queer community. This performative activism leads to excessive consumerism, where people overspend on these products. All the while, companies do not donate their profit to LGBTQ causes. This consumerism exploits queer folk, who are used to garner profits but receive nothing in return.

Just like Target and Walmart, other companies ignore LGBTQ issues. They only focus on gaining profit from the community and supporters throughout Pride month; their support is shallow. Companies deliberately choose when to support the LGBTQ when they’re “trendy” and ignore them after pride month ends. For example, CVS Health has shown its “support” for the LGBTQ community through its marketing and advertisements, yet has donated $2000 each to Senator Dawn Buckingham and Senator Bryan Hughes, co-sponsors of an anti-trans bill that makes gender-affirming care illegal for children. While companies may appear pro-LGBTQ, many still support anti-queer politicians.

Although various companies continue with their performative activism, others have been true supporters from the start. Levi’s and Sephora are two examples of companies that incorporate positive and varied queer representation year-round and donate thousands to LGBTQ organizations. Despite these movements, rainbow washing and superficial advocacy are both becoming heavily normalized in today’s retail industry.

As huge corporations receive more exposure for their “queer” products, it is important to buy from actual small, queer-owned businesses to support the LGBTQ community. A few queer-owned businesses include HAWWAA Studios (clothing and accessories), Focaccia Boi (bakery and merch in Anaheim), Black Queer Magic (jewelry shop), and Requiem Cafe (Anaheim). EverywhereisQueer.com contains a more detailed guide to queer-owned businesses.

The purpose of Pride Month is to celebrate the LGBTQ community and highlight the struggles they faced and overcame. Performative activism from companies undermines the significance and power Pride month holds. People should support queer-owned businesses and corporations that truly advocate for the LGBTQ cause, as supporting the queer community takes more than simply buying a rainbow-colored t-shirt.

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About the Contributor
Miriam Santos
Miriam Santos, Lifestyle Editor

Miriam first joined Gamut to explore journalism and experience the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of newspapers. She loves Mexican cuisine and is a fan of the music artist Slater. Her current go-to read is In the After by Demitria Lunetta; though, her favorite school required-reading was Lord of the Flies. She prefers colder weather over hot weather, preferring the mountains for vacation rather than beaches. Once Christmas comes around, she puts on “Feliz Navidad” to get into the spirits. Her favorite childhood book was the Dork Diaries series, and her favorite mythical animal is a dragon. If Miriam were to describe herself, she would say she is creative because she likes to draw. Miriam also loves taking care of her friends, and a lot of her fellow Gamut staff will agree she is very friendly and caring.

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Pride month flooding with rainbow-washed companies