Pride month is the time of the year when the LGBTQ+ community is able to celebrate themselves.
The community has gone through years and years of discrimination and prejudice from others, even up to this point. Thus, this month aims to make the community visible and with that, propagate acceptance and open-mindedness.
There are celebrities expressing their joy and support for the community from active participation to supportive tweets. This contributes to the visibility they need in order for other people to understand them better and accept them. Celebrating it openly, especially involving famous people that are looked up to by thousands of people, reminds the world that they are human, too. Moreover, it makes a point that their sexuality does not make them any less important.
However, as important and colorful pride month is, companies and other institutions take advantage of its popularity among the masses, or as they see it, consumers.
Brands create products that pander to the members of the LGBT+ community and its supporters. They only seem to pay attention to the issue and the people themselves when it’s trending. The community is only visible when it’s pride month, or when it’s trending. They use its popularity so that they can sell more. They disregard the essence of pride month and what it stands for. It disrespects the community as they serve as objects or tools for profit.
An opposition to this might be that these brands do give the community the visibility they need. However, the problem lies in its consistency and intention. Outside of Pride Month, these supposed supporters disappear when controversy arises. They fear for the brand’s image and reputation. This is dangerous because it only perpetuates the notion that the LGBT+ community isn’t people, but tools they can dispose of.
Another problem that this creates is misrepresentation and appropriation.
A number of people are still confused as to who exactly the LGBT+ are. They either don’t know what the acronyms stand for, or what differentiates them from others. Thus, despite their increasing number of supporters, it’s still important to disseminate information and educate others regarding this issue. However, there is still the problem of consumerism.
— BENCH/ (@benchtm) June 19, 2018
A local brand has recently released limited colognes in lieu of pride month. The problem does not only lie in the hashtag they chose to represent the products, but it’s also in the name itself — LGBTQIAP. The brand chose to put other words instead of what it really means. This especially creates conflict because it effaces the power the acronym holds. LGBTQIAP literally refers to the members of the community. For huge brands to change that for their own products detaches the community itself from its name.
This can also be considered an appropriation. A dominant power structure takes some elements from a group of people who have been systematically oppressed by the former.
“The point is that the more marginalized group doesn’t get a say, while their heritage is deployed by someone in a position of greater privilege – for fun or fashion, perhaps, and out of a place of ignorance rather than knowledge of that culture.” as The Week has described it. In this case, companies and brands like these take advantage of the community’s vulnerability and popularity for their own gain. Their intention does not go with the original purpose of the pride month.
It’s disheartening that these movements and groups of people are being used for capitalists’ benefits.
Especially in a country with strict beliefs, it’s even more necessary that we be persistent for the rights of the LGBT+ community. We are all subject to the clutches of capitalism and consumerism. Our dependency on the products presented to us for survival is solid proof. However, despite all of these, we must be resilient to change and adversaries.