by Jena Le ‘23
As Pride Month begins, LGBTQ+-themed merchandise will show up in stores across the nation. While many are excited to see corporations supporting the LGBTQ+ community, others are skeptical about whether these companies actually support the LGBTQ+ community, or are just doing it as a stunt for marketing and public relations.
This skepticism is understandable. Corporations such as Walmart may seem LGBTQ+ friendly, with its rainbow-colored logo and promotional Pride Skittles on the front page of its website. The reality is that Walmart donated around $400,000 to politicians who actively oppose the Equality Bill, a congressional bill that would help prevent LGBTQ+ people from being discriminated against.
It’s not just Walmart; McDonald’s, CVS, and Amazon, to name a few, have all contributed thousands of dollars to support politicians that are attempting to implement anti-LGBTQ+ bills. These same companies claim to support the LGBTQ+ community while also donating to politicians who want to limit their rights. At the end of the day, the main objective of companies is to make money. A reason that corporations like Amazon and Walmart donate to politicians that support anti-LGBTQ+ bills is that those same politicians help Amazon and Walmart through tax breaks and less regulatory control.
Not to mention, truly standing up for the LGBTQ+ community now can come at a cost for companies. Disney publicly opposed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in April after activists and its own employees pushed the company to take a stand. Florida Republican lawmakers were not happy that Disney took a public stance against the bill. So, they took away Disney’s long-held designation as a self-governing entity of its theme park and surrounding areas. Such retribution by state officials shows other corporations that they could face serious financial issues if they do decide to publicly support the LGBTQ+ community.
The bottom line is that the LGBTQ+ community deserves genuine and concrete support from companies and if those companies cannot offer that, then they at least should be upfront and honest about it rather than figuratively waving Pride flags.