Here in the UK, Pride Month is almost upon use once again. Pride month has a long deep rooted history and celebrates the LGBTQ+ is all of its wonderful glory. The tradition of doing a huge parade full of colour was sparked by the Stonewall riots in America. If you want to read more about that follow the link at the bottom of this post!
However, today we are here to talk about a phenomenon I’m naming “Pride Profit”. This is where companies sell merchandise relating to Pride and directly calling it a “Pride Collection” or a name along those lines and taking 100% of the profits that come from this merchandise.
Most companies, when they release a Pride collection will donate a portion of their profits, sometimes all, to an LGBTQ+ charity. To these companies I say THANK YOU! The best examples of these collections I’ve seen come from:
- Ralph Lauren (T-Shirt donates 100% of the purchase price to the Stonewall Community Foundation and 50% of all other items)
- Levis (100% of net profit goes to Out Right Action International
- Urban Decay (100% of Profits go to LGBTQ+ charities)
- Asos (100%)
Some companies donate a small portion of their profits but that is still an effort that should be commended. These companies tend to be ones selling clothes at a lower price and therefore their profits will be lower and that will effect the amount they can donate (I think). However, at least they are donating something:
- BooHoo (10%)
- River Island (£3 from every sale)
- H&M (10%)
- Disney (10%)
- Abercrombie and Fitch (up to £100,000)
- Urban Outfitters (an unknown portion)
- Converse (an unknown portion)
- Calvin Klein (a donation)
However, it is important to note that the companies who state they will give “a donation” to LGBTQ+ charities may not be giving money from the collection. It may just be a lump sum that could be really big or super small: we just don’t know.
Not all companies hold these ideals where they are willing to donate. This is where the term “Pride Profit” comes from. Some companies use the pride logo, promote their Pride collection and give nothing back to the LGBTQ+ community. Now you may be thinking, what’s wrong with that?
In my opinion, it represents a company profiting from a communities long and harsh battle against prejudice and attack. Pride is a chance to celebrate how far the acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community has come but also to acknowledge the fact that we still have such a long way to go. Have a look at this map which shows where in the world being queer is illegal. In some of these places, it is a crime punishable by death.
Using Pride as a way to increase your profits in May, June and July is such a negative way to run a business. Now, I’m going to name and shame some of the companies who donate 0% of their “Pride Collection” profits to LGBTQ+ charities. I don’t like putting companies on blast but I feel very strongly about this issue.
- Hollister – last year announced they will donate up to £25,000 but this year their pride collection is advertised without any mention of a donation and no evidence of a donation can be found upon further research
- New Look – no mention of profits going to LGBTQ+ causes anywhere online
- M&S – they launched an ‘LGBT’ sandwich?
- Adidas – Pride collection announced and revealed with no mention of profit donation
Another aspect to consider is where the products are being made. For example, if the products are being produced in a country where being gay is illegal then the companies are funding these countries to create their pride collection. This feels like a conflict of interests to me. How can you claim to be celebrating Pride month if you are supporting country where being queer is still against the law?
All I ask of you guys is that if you are buying Pride themed products please make sure that the company is donating profits back into LGBTQ+ charities and organisations. The production of the merchandise is also important but that is an entirely different conversation.
Remember that 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ+.
Remember that 84% of trans youth have contemplated suicide.
I’m not saying boycott the 0% companies because I love some of the products they sell. However, if they wish to make a Pride collection and profit from the LGBTQ+ communities and its allies – at least put the money back into the support networks. Respect the legacy that Pride has and the difficulty and the hardship that the community goes through.
Thank you so much for reading guys! I hope you enjoyed this post!