Opinion: Corporations exploit Pride

Every June, more companies come out with Pride campaigns. From social media to granola bars, it seems like everyone thinks being gay is something they can capitalize on without actually supporting.

YouTube, which currently has a multi-colored rainbow profile picture, has constantly profited off of its LGBTQ+ creators and boasted about having a queer-friendly platform “while simultaneously turning a blind eye to homophobic harassment.” This isn’t necessarily a rare thing, either. Twitter, while also not punishing harmful behavior, flags tweets that mention LGBTQ+ tags.

It feels as if companies are playing with LGBTQ+ lives in order to come off as “woke” and to make a profit without caring about any actual problems in the community.

H&M came out with its “Stay True, Stay You” campaign for Pride month this year, featuring a variety of rainbow-covered clothing. However, it is still not in support of the LGBTQ+ community. H&M scored under 50% in the 2019 Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, where scores are determined by performance in four categories: non-discrimination policies; employment benefits; supporting an inclusive culture and corporate social responsibility, including public commitment to LGBTQ+ equality; and responsible citizenship. 

In the same sense, Urban Outfitters has an entire “Happy Pride” page on its website, as though “its CEO, Richard Hayne, isn’t the same guy who once gave thousands to elect Rick Santorum, who likened homosexuality to bestiality.”

That is not to say, however, there are no corporations that really do work in favor of the LGBTQ+ community. Target, with its “#takepride” campaign, are donating a percentage of its profits to GLSEN — the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network — and its has continually supported and respected ita LGBTQ+ employees and customers.

I can understand certain corporations want to show their acceptance, but many of them are still going against equality. Pride is not supposed to be something to capitalize on, but something to celebrate without being treated like pawns for profit.

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