An inside look into companies and Pride Month

Written by: Gianna Adonteng

IT’S JUNE. Such a beautiful warm month to represent the love and happiness that is radiating and oozing from so many people as they support or are part of the LGBTQIA+ community.

It’s the month where universally so many people celebrate themselves, others, and how far they have fought to be able to openly be themselves and love whoever they want to love without feeling like they should hide a part of themselves from the world. Most importantly, it’s a celebration of love.

Unfortunately, June is also the month where basically every company and business known to man works hard to show their care and appreciation for all people in the LGBTQIA+ community. And while the displays of support are heartwarming, it can be disheartening to see companies supporting the community by putting up a rainbow flag and showing love by writing cute messages confirming how much they care, solely for profit or to just say that they did it.

Luckily, this world is filled with people who made it their mission to help people who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community feel beautiful and confident in their own skin, even if not everyone might love them for truly being themselves. So many companies have done the work to support projects, donate, and create products that represent what PRIDE is really about, so this month instead of focusing on the negative, let’s focus on the people that are running down the crowded streets with a brightly colored flags as they loudly and proudly express who they are.

Before I had even started typing, I was determined to speak about the way some companies and brands have done a subpar job on their Pride Collections this June. And while it’s definitely important to be aware of our mistakes so we can do better, I want to celebrate the people who have put in the work and time to be a guiding light for people who might feel lost. Companies supporting the LGBTQIA+ community and creating products to show their love is really needed for people in that community, because it has allowed them to really understand and realize that they are loved and accepted, even if people in their own personal lives may not feel the same.

Nike has taken it upon themselves to celebrate and share the stories of a few people who are true to themselves, a few people being Bretman Rock, Shho Shimoyamada, and Gia Parr as they work towards creating and being a part of a “more inclusive future’. Through their message, it’s clear that they not only want to represent themselves as a company that encourages people to be open, but they also want people to realize being true to who they are will bring so much happiness and positivity to them.

Their shoe line is a visual representation of how being true to yourself is not only a strength, but it allows you to also break the barriers and create positive change.

Adidas released a 30 piece collection with a campaign recognizing inspiring members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Their campaign is titled “Love Unites” and not only do they find it important to give a platform to people who are working towards inclusivity, they have also created a Pride Pack which includes 30 amazing pieces that are expressive, unique, and beautiful- describing perfectly the community that they are supporting.

They released their first Pride Pack in 2015, starting when some employees wanted to create products that they felt held meaning for the upcoming PRIDE marches at the time. Ever since then, Adidas has found it important to consistently support the LGBT+ community and be a pillar of strength and support.

Doc Martens do not waver in their care and love for the community, and it’s easily shown as they march to the beat of their own drum, or in this case, shoe. Although Doc Martens don’t have a large collection, each year they donate money to a charity that focuses on mental health services for the LGBTQ+ youth.

This year, they are working with 5 artists who have created beautifully personalized Docs from the 5 LGBTQ+ artists, and everyone has a chance to win a pair. Rahm, Gossamer, Rozen, Shanee Benjamin, Sadie Samet, and Ricky Sencion are the 5 incredibly talented and expressive human beings who have created the docs, and whoever wins them will be lucky to have such a handcrafted gift.

These Pride collections at times may just seem like companies using marketing tactics to reach a larger audience, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. For the community, Pride month isn’t just about waving a brightly colored flag around as you march in the streets, and it's also not about wearing brightly colored clothing. Pride month is about freely celebrating who you are, shouting your truth out to the world despite all the people throughout history who have told you otherwise or made you feel less than.

So it’s more than just a clothing line or just a shoe brand. It’s a sign and a reminder that people deserve the right to love who they are and who they’re becoming even if no one else does. Pride welcomes everyone and these collections show that even if you haven't labeled yourself or don't know who you are yet, you have a safe space. It promotes diversity and inclusivity, allowing people to know that they will always have something to trust in.

So it’s not just a marketing tactic, and even though these products are ultimately just products, they are a reminder that we aren’t alone.

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