Pride month is a beautiful thing.
It is a celebration of the visibility and representation of members of the LGBTQ + community. In June, community members and their allies seek to educate and defend a world where “love wins”.
However, in an attempt to capitalize on Pride Month, companies are using the aesthetic of the LGBTQ + community as a simple publicity stunt. In many cases, groups that change their logos to rainbows in June either have a habit of suppressing LGBTQ + voices the rest of the year or represent groups critical to community oppression in the community. fight for equality.
Once May ends in June, entertainment companies like Disney flood their social media feeds with posts largely in favor of the LGBTQ + community. Such a representation, although it is a beautiful sign of solidarity, often goes against the rest of the actions of a company.
Let’s start with Disney.
The company’s Twitter tweeted an image of their popular characters marching in front of a rainbow flag in solidarity with the LGBTQ + community on June 1. It’s amazing to see Mickey, Donald and Goofy proclaiming “there’s room for everyone under the rainbow”, but Disney’s past actions make the gesture nothing more than ‘a marketing aesthetic.
After Disney bought 20e Century Fox and shutting down their animation department, Blue Sky, canceled what was to be the first LGBTQ +-directed animated feature, “Nimona”. The film was ten months away from being completed.
Disney, the supposed ally of the LGBTQ + community, has also moved “Love, Victor,” a teen romantic comedy series about a gay man’s self-discovery of his sexuality, from Disney + to Hulu. The show was moved because it “wouldn’t fit into Disney + family content.”
If anyone can go under the rainbow as Disney proclaimed in early June, then why have these projects been moved or canceled to align with a ‘family’ brand, when the stories of self-discovery have been the bread and butter of the business for years?
While Disney, an entertainment company, capitalizing on a trend with its adoption of pride imagery is just a bad lens given its past, other organizations using the pride aesthetic in June are much more disturbing.
Take Raytheon Technologies, for example.
A major defense contractor for the United States government, the brand recently changed its logo to a rainbow version of its old red branding. While the company was considered the safest work environment for LGBTQ + employees, their presence in the pride festivities is nonetheless problematic.
Raytheon isn’t the only gun company to change its name in June. Taser and body camera producer Axon also changed their logo to a vibrant rainbow during Pride Month.
For companies like Raytheon and Axon that sell guns to various military and police forces, pride isn’t exactly the most appropriate rebranding.
The story of pride is a story of riots and the fight against the police for basic rights. Usually agreed by historians as the first modern pride was actually the Stonewall riot in 1969 when gay rights activists responded to a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village.
Notorious and historic antagonist force of the LGBTQ + community, police have been banned from many recent pride events, including events in New York City. After years of police antagonism with guns supplied by companies like Raytheon and Axon, it’s understandable why it’s not the most appropriate sign of solidarity for a gunmaker to support a community they have. helped to oppress.
Pride has been criticized in recent years for becoming too cooperative, with companies like Target using pride merchandise to sell more t-shirts. But despite all of its missteps with the occasional military contractor expressing inappropriate solidarity, Pride still provides a spotlight for LGBTQ + voices.
More artistic branches of companies like Disney and Warner Brothers are able to spotlight their LGBTQ + creators. Take Marvel and DC Comics, both of which have recently released huge anthology books celebrating their stable of LGBTQ + creators and characters.
Of course, it’s always about cooperation, but seeing heroes who identify in a certain way goes a long way in inspiring the next generation of LGBTQ + youth to feel good about themselves.
Representation matters and that is what pride should be.
It’s not about silencing LGBTQ + voices, invalidating them with a company that makes the tasers the police used to oppress community members and it’s certainly not about passing anti-transgender legislation on the first day of June, as Governor DeSantis did in Florida.
It’s about love.
Domenic Purdy is a 20-year-old journalist from Prairieville.