LGBTQ+ Pride should not be corporatized

 William Jennings Sadler/Contributing Writer

 In the midst of global anti-queerness, LGBTQ+ Pride Month has incongruously devolved into a celebration of corporate commerce that actively engages with some of the biggest forces of international exploitation.

I often get frustrated with this idea that corporations have emotions, politics, or moral conscious; nothing could be further from the truth.

The corporate agenda is unconcerned with inclusivity and social progress only until they can be monetized.

Today, multinational retail conglomerates and banks capitalize off of queer people.

Via calculated marketing tactics, queer narratives are taken advantage of in an attempt to tap into a demographic that virtually had no representation in previous years.

I find this ironic, considering the long history of systemic injustice and violence that has been expended upon queer people/people in general at the hands of corporations.

Gilead, the biotech company that manufactures PrEP (an HIV prevention pill), increased its average wholesale price by about 45% according to Kaiser Health.

This makes the drug inaccessible for many who are at high risk of HIV infection.

Exxon Mobil, a multinational oil and gas corporation, is the world’s 14th highest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions according to Forbes.

Nike, the American clothing and footwear giant, has historically outsourced its manufacturing to foreign countries where sweatshop labor is legal practice.

One of the things these three corporations have in common is that they are all Pride sponsors.

Diversity of thought is important. Conversations about the negative influence corporations have upon our social, environmental, and physical well-beings need to be at the forefront of Pride.

The homonationalistic lens in which we use to approach queer issues is counterproductive.

Pride has situated itself in a subservient position to unethical institutions that suggest that because they stand in solidarity with queer people, they are not to be contested.

This violent appeal to one aspect of our identity with the expectation that we will surrender all others is an instrumental component of corporate control.

So, I beg the question: why do we feel empowered when we wave a pride flag that was sponsored by H&M (or whatever)?

Are we aware of its global implications? Are we better than this? Are we revolutionaries?

 

DISCLAIMER:

The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

Photo retrieved from FIU flickr.

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