Hot Take: We're Here, We're Queer, And We Find Your Values Unclear

Hot Take: We're Here, We're Queer, And We Find Your Values Unclear

In the U.S., June is designated as LGTBQ+ Pride Month (usually shortened to Pride Month), a time to celebrate queer people and culture as well as work toward acceptance and justice. But if you didn’t already know that, then this blog post is probably not for you, friend.

As an expert in both marketing and being queer, I’ve worked with tons of brands over the years to create and execute Pride Month marketing campaigns. At best, it’s fun and validating, and at worst—which is when the client or brand doesn’t understand what Pride is at all—it’s excruciating.

What a lot of businesses don’t get is that, while Pride Month is a good time to celebrate people, it’s about much, much more than that; it’s a necessary time to celebrate values. And that’s where I see the biggest disconnect between queer consumers and the brands who purport to support them.

What Customers Want for Pride Month

This will likely come as a surprise to many corporations, but queer people don’t want more rainbow-colored merchandise. LGTBQ-owned businesses with LGBTQ-themed products exist and sell shit all year long—and most queer people already know this—so all big businesses are doing by making their monochromatic hand mixers look like prisms for 30 days are exposing themselves as rainbow washing bandwagon enthusiasts.

And the most annoying part is that this strategy persists year to year despite not aligning with what the actual community wants. Which illuminates the disconnect: as long as companies continue to profit off of Pride Month, the wishes of the communities they claim to love aren’t much of a factor at all. But I digress. (For now!)

There are numerous studies out there that show what queer consumers truly want, and it’s not orange-white-and-pink pet collars for Clarke, Lexa and Mrs. Whiskerdoodle. One survey by Bazaarvoice showed that “81% of consumers want year-round inclusivity.” Some of the ways they recommended brands do that were by supporting LGBTQ+ employees, partnering with queer organizations and leaders, and donating to relevant causes—all things you can do without making manufacturing changes. (Which isn’t great for the environment either, by the way.)

Here’s what it comes down to: if your “friend” only texts you once a year on your birthday, then they don’t really care about you. Likewise, if a company considers your identity a “limited edition” value, then they do not really value you.

Cody H. Owens,
Content Director

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