Pride Month has become a commercialized holiday due to the abundant “support” for the LGBTQ+ community from companies. Pride is meant to stand for how the LGBTQ+ community and its allies address the ongoing work for acceptance and equality. Nowadays, Pride has just become a month of partying, companies capitalizing on activists, and slacktivism, the practice of supporting a political or social cause through very little effort.
Consumerist donation structure, where consumers purchase merchandise as support, creates a context of slacktivism because it gives brands and consumers alike a low-effort way to support Pride. Some companies that are promoting Pride are not doing much for the LGBTQ+ community beyond contributing to this vague notion of “awareness.” Enough with awareness—there needs to be action for reformation.
While companies such as Gilead Pharmaceuticals are just revamping their logos with a rainbow for a month, some are actually donating a portion of their proceeds to LGBTQ+ charities. However, once Pride Month ends, all the overwhelming support ends with it. All the merchandise and flashy decorations vanish like it was never there.
In addition, the 2016 Los Angeles Pride Music Festival and Parade was referred to as “gay Coachella” by the public. Christopher Street West (CSW), the association who organizes the event, rebranded it as a music festival, saying it was trying to appeal to millennials rather than those in the LGBTQ+ community. It raised ticket prices and shortened free events dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community such a queer performers.
To begin with, Pride is not about partying or appealing to millennials. CSW is just seeking profit and are disregarding what Pride should be about, the LGBTQ+ community and its allies addressing the ongoing work for acceptance and equality. Instead of inclusiveness, many will be excluded because they are not able to afford admission to the festival.
To bring back Pride’s true meaning, consumers should research and seek out organizations themselves, making their donations directly and bypassing the retail element entirely. The LGBTQ+ community and its allies could also consider alternative ways to celebrate Pride such as volunteering at a local LGBTQ+ youth/community center and learn their history by visiting museums or watching a documentary.