June is Pride month. This Saturday starts Seattle PrideFest complete with rally, Trans* Pride event, Queer Art Walk, film festival, many vendors, food, and Seattle’s biggest parade. A UCC minister told me that several churches were squabbling one year about what order they went in during the Pride parade and then he snapped “why don’t we all march together, do you know how many communities in other parts of the country would love to have this problem?” Dan Savage is a local luminary. Seattle elected an openly gay mayor, Ed Murray (who put gay rights as part of his platform), a few years ago. Big corporate sponsors such as T-mobile, Microsoft, Starbucks, Walmart, Alaska Airlines, Macys, and many more show up to put their names on things and be associated with Pride. Microsoft and Starbucks are local companies who have been involved for many years, but seriously, Walmart?! The almighty dollar triumphs again.
In 1996 I made a website with a rainbow spectrum of triangles because I loved rainbows. An acquaintance of mine (a brave teenager who came out in what I think was Northern Florida) told me that was pretty cool and supportive. I was confused. He told me about the Pride connotations of rainbows. “Huh,” I said. I had to be honest with him- I hadn’t thought about it, but now that I knew I’d keep them up there as a message of support. At the time it could be considered daring, as I lived in a conservative Catholic town — our public high school had one openly gay student out of about eight hundred — and my website had my name on it. I considered it low-risk because my peers already thought I was ‘weird.’
Some apparel companies have shown their support in rainbows. As Jeanna of Bluestockings Boutique said, few lingerie companies have given shout-outs about Pride month, but Hanky Panky are spot on:
I will go buy some of their underpants right now to work on making my own rainbow. They have every color I can think of. My personal experience is that they are rather comfortable and roll up well for traveling (bikini or thong, haven’t tried the other cuts). They used to have a proper rainbow colorway in and of itself, but I can’t find it anymore. Have you found any rainbow or Pride-appropriate lingerie?
American Apparel didn’t make rainbow shirts, but they do have a line called Equality Forward with the Human Rights Campaign. They partnered with GLAAD to make a lovely OUT! unisex shirt a few years ago, too. Some proceeds from these tops go to the organizations. I’ve been historically suspicious of some of AA’s ads, but these shirts look cool to me, and the OUT! one is currently $14.
Nike have also embraced the rainbows with their Be True 2015 selection. Sneakers, shoes, tanks, and hats show a rainbow, a hashtag on black. adidas counters with its Pride Pack, sneakers and a slide with rainbow paint and effects. I’m pleasantly surprised that sportswear companies are acknowledging and marketing Pride Month: athletes, especially those who play on team sports, have very few out professionals.
I think every month should be Pride month. Companies should always have inclusive ad campaigns. Our mayor is awesome and should blink more often. Things have changed in the United States, but there’s a lot more to be done in a lot of places before queer (using the term to mean non-cis non-heterosexual) people can be themselves without getting shamed, that they may be murdered at the same rate as the rest of us, and that they have all the rights of non-queer humans. I try to use P-FLAG as a starting point for how to be supportive. If you have better resources, please direct me to them.
Addendum: holy Lego Man the Supreme Court decided to time their decision on same-sex marriage. Extra Happy Pride!