On Pride Month and the Battle of the Rainbow Logo

On Pride Month and the Battle of the Rainbow Logo

Greetings, fellow allies, welcome to the deja-June of Pride Month, an annual celebration of all things un-straight, part social justice movement, part corporate marketing vehicle. I wish this were a more jolly piece about the joys of being a gay. (I thoroughly recommend it!) But for all the levity, there’s also a gravity to LGBTQ+ life that cannot be ignored. To publically out yourself, even in this day and age, even in the most coastally elite of towns, is no simple task. At a time when many de-closeted people still carry shame and stigma, being out and proud is definitely something to celebrate. Equality for the outed is still a struggle because internalized homophobia is very much a thing and we all have to unlearn our early years’ conditioning as idiots. 

A lot of LGBTQ+ people have opinions about the best way to get a foothold in an ever-evasive equality, whether that’s through organized marches, challenging restrictive legislation, or an abundance of rainbowed merch. Merch can be divisive and tends to rankle people. Something about the collision of the corporate and the celebratory gets under their skin. Perhaps it’s the gaping discrepancy between the historic and current difficulties faced by LGBTQ+ peoples versus the deceptive simplicity of a t-shirt, say, or a lunchbox or a Lettuce Guac Bacon Tomato sandwich. 

Am I the only person finding it hard to get properly riled up about the commodification of gayness? Not just gayness, of course; there’s bi-ness, lesbian-ness, transgender-ness, and plus-ness, all of which nestle under the pride rainbow, weathering the storm of majority heteronormativity. I appreciate the sanctuary the community offers, and the leaps and strides towards equality that our righteous anger can achieve. (I for one am happily married to another man.) What I’m struggling to feel properly irritated about is some of my apps turning rainbow for 30 days. Ever since brands got sentient, the moral state of the planet became another marketing tactic. 

Every year during Pride Month, we see brand after brand slap a rainbow on a limited-edition box (or boxer short, for that matter) and they’re accused of performative lip service to “the community” without following through in any tangible way. We’re inundated with those incredibly glib “Brands when Pride month’s over” memes that ridicule the ephemerality of their efforts, the nod to lazy activism. And brands seemingly return to heterosexuality on July 1st while the rest of us live fully rounded LGBTQ+ lives where every day is gay as hell. 

Published at Thu, 03 Jun 2021 21:35:44 +0000