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The thing is that the issue is much more complex than either "thing good" or "thing bad." What's more, it's just a piece of bigger issues regarding both capitalism and LGBTQ+ rights.

We don't really need to get into the macro criticisms of capitalism, but for the purposes of this discussion, let's just grant that while A) there is no ethical consumption under capitalism, B) that doesn't mean you can't try. To that end, while brands coming out in support of Pride is a good thing on its face, it's worth taking a step back and examining what the intentions of the brand are. Yes, it is ultimately to generate positive press and sell more goods, this is universal; however, do these brands just trot out the rainbow merchandise in June and call it a day, or are they actually committed to inclusive workplace policies and giving back to the community? By way of example, companies including AT&T, Verizon, Chase, and Nike all supported Pride this year in some capacity, but all have donated obscene amounts of money to the campaigns of Republican lawmakers, many of whom are despicably homophobic and transphobic. PlayStation took part in a Pride parade this year (I want to say in SF or LA? I lost my link), but Sony Computer Entertainment of America only has a score of 65 on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index for most queer-friendly employers, 100 obviously being the highest score. Yes, it does feel good to see rainbows everywhere and know I'm appreciated, if only for my money, but it eventually begs the question of sincerity and authenticity. Plus, wouldn't that $29.99 you spend on a Pride-themed shirt at Target be better spent supporting an independent queer artist?

What's more, and this ties back in somewhat to what I said above, these corporations often do not care to push for societal or political change benefiting LGBTQ+ people. Putting aside the quandary of whether Pride in 2019 is meant to be a celebration or a protest -- although it could stand to be more of the latter regardless -- we are still dealing with severe issues in the queer community. Most specifically, trans people, especially trans women of color, are murdered and assaulted at an extremely high rate. For the most part, though, we only have grassroots and advocacy organizations fighting against this. Corporations will speak up, sure, and I applaud all of the ones speaking in support of the Equality Act, but are they committed to this enough to actually put their vast profits toward the cause? As I mentioned earlier, often the answer is no. This isn't to say that we can't appreciate when they do speak out, but we should demand more social responsibility beyond a rainbow Twitter avatar.

Look, at the end of the day, rainbow capitalism is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, we get companies coming out and pledging support for us, catering to us, and generally making us feel that much more special when we most need and deserve it. (The fact it pisses off a lot of homophobes and transphobes, especially in the gaming community, is icing on the cake.) On the other hand, by virtue of their actions and inactions, combined with the inherent flaws of capitalism, you always have to look the gift horses in the mouth, as it were.

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alanedgehead's avatar
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