Brands back Pride in 2019
It’s the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, and in the UK capital, Pride in London events have been running for almost a month. Meanwhile the UK’s biggest Pride parade in Brighton takes place at the beginning of August.
Though Pride began as an anti-establishment protest, sections of it are now mainstream. Pride’s popularity (and a recent drive towards ‘purpose-driven marketing’) means that brands have been angling for a piece of the pie for some time now.
This year, brands’ attempts to back Pride seem to have increased tenfold, and too many are ‘rainbow-washing’. Slapping a rainbow on a product without real initiatives to show support for the LGBT+ community can be cringe-worthy and off-putting. So, here are some of the brands that are doing Pride right:
Hunter: Pride Boots
Hunter is donating 100% of profits from its Pride Play Boots to LGBT+ charities including akt, The Outside Project, NAZ, MindOut, Mermaids and Trust Judy Blame. The support these charities offer ranges from providing safe homes for LGBT+ youth to improving mental health services. Hunter promoted its boots at the queer-friendly festival Mighty Hoopla in London last month. The ‘Hunhouse’ was a streamer-ridden platform occupied by queens wearing the Pride boots and promoting the initiative.
Law firm Pinsent Masons was ranked Stonewall’s most LGBT+-inclusive employer in 2019, and it secured the number two spot in both 2017 and 2018. The firm received recognition for its inclusive policies and practices for lesbian, gay and bi staff, including the introduction of specific trans-inclusive employee training to create a welcoming environment for trans colleagues, clients and visitors. Pinsent Masons was also actively involved in championing LGBT+ equality across the UK, including supporting the campaign for marriage equality in Northern Ireland and working with school partners to build inclusive learning environments for young people.
Harry’s: Shave with Pride Set
Designed by artist José Roda, 100% of profits from this shaving set are donated to The Albert Kennedy Trust (akt) in the UK, which serves lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people who are homeless, living in a hostile environment or who are in a housing crisis. In the US, proceeds go towards The Trevor Project, a non-profit organisation focused on suicide prevention. The unique box design is stylish and befitting of the brand’s challenger status, and the site offers facial hair styling tips and ideas from LGBT influencers.
In a productive step forward, and by making the most of its unique position to influence young people, Instagram partnered with The Trevor Project to create a guide to online well-being and self-care, illustrated by queer artist Ashley Lukashevsky. It also updated its gender selection options to be more inclusive of non-gender-binary users. Its rainbow hashtags and 10 New-York-based installations shining a light on lesser-known historic LGBT+ pioneers, places, and movements are also a part of the initiative.
PLAYBOY: Pride is good
PLAYBOY, a longtime supporter of LGBT+ equality, is selling Playboy bunny ears and t-shirts designed by seven queer artists. It’s also running a pop-up shop during New York’s Pride event, with all proceeds going to The Trevor Project which campaigns to end conversion therapy, still legal in more than 30 US states. Back in 1969, PLAYBOY published a reader’s Letter to the Editor detailing the dangers of conversion therapy; a discredited practice that aims to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
IKEA: Rainbow Shopping Bag
In the US, IKEA has launched a rainbow-coloured version of its iconic FRAKTA shopping bag to promote equality for the LGBT+ community. All proceeds will go to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational branch of the US’ largest civil rights organisation working towards equality. IKEA also has a good reputation as an employer; benefits for LGBT+ co-workers and their families include medical, dental, vision, bereavement, relocation or travel assistance, adoption, employee discount, supplemental life insurance and parental leave. The IKEA US medical plan also covers a portion of gender confirmation counselling and surgery.
You can get yourself one of these babies for just $35. I will leave you to draw your own conclusions as to why this might not be a good brand fit.