As Pride Month comes to an end, many “ally” companies will be returning to their regularly scheduled heteronormative content. The rainbows will be removed from their avis, the Pride discount codes will be deactivated and their advertisements will no longer utilize queer creators. Representation of the LGBTQIA+ community will no longer be a priority because these types of companies “put their time in” already.
Pride Month is supposed to be a time in which members of the queer community can celebrate the validity of their existence and pay homage to those who have fought, and continue to fight, for the liberation and equality of queer-identifying individuals. Unfortunately, powerful movements are often commodified by companies whose goal is not to aid in the fight, but rather to profit off of it.
The phenomena of Pride Month pandering, along with the appropriation and commodification of queer culture through rainbow capitalism, has become increasingly prominent over the last few years. Essentially, companies that never expressed an ounce of support for the LGBTQIA+ community randomly release items with rainbow regalia and post about figures such as Marsha P. Johnson in the month of June, all with the intent of garnering support from the queer community without offering susbtantial support themselves.
At the same time, though, there are still companies whose allyship is far from performative, and whose support for the queer community extends past the 30 days of June.
Here are six companies that support the LGBTQIA+ community all year:
Sondermind is an online resource which matches individuals seeking therapy with licensed therapists, both online and in-person. In regards to their support for the LGBTQIA+ community specifically, they post articles that breakdown concepts such as allyship, the prospect of coming out and the differences between sex and gender. As a proponent of mental health, Sondermind destigmatizes mental health among queer-identifying individuals while ensuring that they have resources to receive proper care.
Founded by queer Latinx designer Bianca Negrón (she/they), this brand offers inclusive, pride centered products such as T-shirts, pins, patches and hats. With an aim to provide “representation and visibility” through their art, Negrón also donates much of the shop’s proceeds to mutual aid funds and foundations that support the LGBTQIA+ community, such as the Marsha P. Johnson Institute and The Audre Lorde Project.
The iconic sneaker company has released sizeable Pride collections since the year 2015, and this year, they collaborated with five queer creators from across the globe to cultivate a global collection. In addition to creating inclusive Pride campaigns that existed before it was trendy to do so, the company has donated more than $1.3 million to LGBTQIA+ organizations within the past six years.
Gympass, an online fitness service which connects users to premium fitness apps and spaces, also offers articles that highlight LGBTQIA+ safe athletic spaces. Additionally, they detail ways in which all spaces dedicated to fitness can make their spaces safer for queer communities.
Nordstrom has provided grants to nonprofit organizations every year, including LGBTQIA+ youth centered initiatives such as the Los Angeles LGBT center and the GLBT Community Center of Colorado. Additionally, the Nordstrom Gift Card Program allows for one percent of all proceeds from gift card sales to go to charity.
With a score of 100 percent on the Corporate Equality Index for the last 11 years, Baker McKenzie champions itself as a firm that prioritizes workplace equality and inclusion for members of the queer community. Baker McKenzie was also named a Stonewall Top Employer, along with being a Global Trans Inclusion Award recipient in 2020. Additionally, they partnered with the Harvard Law School LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) to provide transgender youth with a legal resource, called the Trans Youth Handbook, that details their rights within varying situations.
Despite the presence of disingenuous support for the LGBTQIA+ community within the marketing of various companies, there are still those who disengage with Pride Month pandering and genuinely aim to advance the lives of queer-identifying individuals.
This extensive work is ultimately the bare minimum for self-proclaimed allies, but it is still both appreciated and necessary for the prospect of queer liberation.
Cory Utsey (she/her) is a blogger and writer studying journalism at Howard University. With interests in social justice, intersectional feminism and entertainment, she aims to promote equity for marginalized communities.