History is a predominantly deep and interesting concept to behold or be beholden to. The many eras of struggle and strife alongside the solemn entrenchment of mortality will always be embedded into it. Thus, if history serves us right, then humanity’s sacrifice should remind everyone of the drear that the minorities suffered only because they wanted to be treated equally.
The month of June marks a significant milestone in Pride history or the LGBTQIA+ history as it marked the commemoration of the Stonewall Riots.
It was the first time when the community rose against the authorities to celebrate the feeling of love without any judgment. This dark period in LGBTQ+ history was then commemorated as Pride Month by President Bill Clinton as he first convened office.
It initiated a rather revolutionary period in the generational struggle of the LGBTQ+ community as they finally were attributed to a similar form of normalcy as their straight counterparts.
However, it must be stated that their culmination into the mainstream is still an ongoing process as the spectrum still seeks acceptance in quite a few corners of the world.
Yet, the rainbow still glows and has a semblance of normalcy in our world. Therefore, as custom dictates, the corporates are never far behind, and we shall take a plunge into how capitalists have exploited the movement and to what extent.
What Does Pride Month Celebrate?
As stated before, Pride Month is commemorated to highlight the struggles of the community during the Stonewall Riots and through the many years of persecution. The riots concluded with 2400 casualties, including 43 deaths.
The figures included the casualty list of both law enforcement officers as well as civilians. It is often regarded as one of the worst riots in the USA, alongside the Chicago riots for Vietnam. The blood that flooded the streets was not in vain as it led to widespread support for the queer community after years of persecution.
The Stonewall Riots and the subsequent demonstrations alongside it marked numerous milestones in LGBTQIA+ culture. New York City witnessed its very first LGBTQ+ protest march in response to the Stonewall Riots.
For the very first time, the community had become the talk of the town and had attained mainstream status, if only subliminally. However, the Stonewall Inn was still barricaded, and local pubs still did not permit gay couples.
Numerous places run by organized crime families were the only places that permitted gay couples, like Stonewall Inn. However, as cause defeats effect every time, the police raided the Stonewall Inn and started raining blows on the customers believing them to be conspirators or members of the crime family.
The Stonewall Riots marked a significant event in not just LGBTQ+ history but also world history. The riots professed to the world that the community had had enough of suppression and suppressive forces would thus be revolted against.
No person on God’s haloed ground had the right to demean or deter a fellow human being from being treated as a human being. The revolts succeeded, the streets were bloody yet the flag still fluttered in its rainbow glory.
Rainbow Capitalism: A Fad That Is Here To Stay
It should come as no surprise to anyone when I say that consumerism hooks on to the latest trends and celebrations. Sucking the marrow of these celebrations dry with price tags of affirmation, there exists no celebration that has been celebrated without corporate interference.
The corporate infringement reinstates the cause of profitability trumping the need for awareness or action. Numerous major corporations have used the Pride colors to invigorate their apparent support for the movement as they move onwards with maximizing their profits.
However, it must be stated that most corporates that use the Pride colors donate a part of their profits made through the sale of Pride merchandise to LGBTQ+ charities. The donations, in itself, more than anything are but a slight peck on the proverbial forehead of the movement.
Case in point, H&M is one such brand that has actively defeated the purpose of professing the movement and mobilizing it, using the movement as a guise of profitability.
H&M’s “Pride Out Loud” collection is a fairly popular Pride fashion collection that has garnered a considerable consumer base. However, only 10% of the proceeds are donated to queer foundations while the rest of the proceeds are kept for the company itself.
Couple this with the presence of manufacturing plants being actively being present in historically queerphobic countries and we have just another brand looking out for themselves. It is no new news for readers to know that H&M manufactures its merchandise out of China, a massively queerphobic nation.
The case grows further still like the case for brands painting their brand image in a different light with each change in political or physical geography. The most obvious of it being the difference in brand publicity in different places.
For instance, BMW’s logo on its official Facebook page contains the Pride rainbow while the Saudi Arabian page displays the normal logo.
In hindsight, none of these examples may sound surprising to any of us as it is only obvious to note that the corporates care only about their market share and profitability. The cry and calls to further the movement barely bother them, and ideologies stay as mere words on pages.
The corporate tactic of ‘awareness’ has been deemed as problematic but an inevitable step to bring awareness regarding the community to the forefront.
Although, even if it is being considered a necessity, the majority of the LGBTQ community is actively protesting against disingenuous rainbow capitalism that seeks to only mint money and not further the movement.
Thus, as things are now, the involvement of corporates in the movement still seems shaky as ever.
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