You may have heard of pink or even green capitalism, but now, meet rainbow capitalism: the latest ploy from corporations to make you believe that they care about your cause!
Perhaps it was inevitable. As support for the LGBTQ+ community grew to the majority being in public support, corporations jumped at the opportunity to sink their claws into the movement for their own economic gains. It appears in the form of Adidas's "pride pack" rainbow merchandise, despite being one of the biggest sponsors in this year's World Cup in Russia, a country whose anti-LGBT laws make being apart of the community a dangerous thing.
It appears in companies changing their logos to that of rainbow colors, without actually doing literally anything to contribute to the LGBT+ community. It appears in the slacktivism of "allies" purchasing a rainbow product and feeling as though they have contributed to the cause.
To give context, Pride Month was created in honor of the Stonewall Riots of 1969, headed by LGBTQ people, predominantly of color, including black trans women Marsha P. Johnson, after being silenced by the police all throughout history. It garnered attention to the LGBTQ+ fight for equality by taking a step further than the polite and resigned protests.
So then why is our current Pride Month being defined by just that: movements for equality that are polite and resigned?
Here's the truth you may not want to hear: buying a 'love is love' mug or posting a picture of your rainbow Ikea bag is not really supporting the LGBTQ+ community. Sorry, not sorry.
Corporations are thriving off of people's willingness to accept the most minimal efforts as support. What is feeding into these limited-edition rainbow products actually doing to help the LGBTQ+ community? In most cases, nothing but exploiting the very real and very serious battle for equality to love who you want to. Even though the LGBTQ+ symbol of a rainbow can be found nearly everywhere during the month of June, its current use by corporations only works to silence the actual hardships and meanings behind the movement and its activists.
To mend this loss of focus is to raise awareness. Continue to educate yourself and other people on the real reasons for Pride, and the real reasons why companies may be using these symbols. Investigate the companies that you want to purchase LGBTQ+ products from: Are they donating to LGBTQ+ causes? Have they ever actively donated to anti-LGBTQ or other humanitarian causes? Are they only vocal when it comes to the month of June, and silent on anything gay-related after?
Pride Month was designed not only to celebrate the braveness of those LGBTQ+ activists who have come before us, but each and every single member of the community who continues to fight for equality. When corporations minimize that down to a rainbow-colored bottle of mouthwash, ask yourself: Are they supporting for the right reasons? Or is it just another contribution to the silencing of the LGBTQ+ community?