PRIDE remains important. It is a celebration but it is also a protest at the inequalities, discrimination and hatred which still persist.
The struggle for equality continues, desite recent advances. Protection from discrimination in employment, health and housing, access to goods and services must be secured. Family rights must be safeguarded and upheld. Sexual orientation and gender identity should never be a case for abuse or prejudice.
The commercialisation of PRIDE
In recent years it has been impossible not to notice the growing commercialisation of PRIDE.
Multi national corporations, many of them characterised by anti-worker practices, low wages, poor conditions and precarious contracts of employment, have been falling over themselves to produce ‘special’ PRIDE editions of their products and add rainbows to their packing to demonstrate their pro-PRIDE credentials.
Whether the practices of many of these corporations live up to their manufactured image is questionable. The commercial hijacking of PRIDE by companies wanting to prove that they are anti-homoophobic means little when those same companies and corporations make political donations to right wing conservative parties, exploit young people, discrimanate against women and people with disabilities, engage in oppressive working practices and avoid paying their rightful taxes.
PRIDE has become a useful social marketing tool for corporations and brands. They use it to distract attention from the real and oppressive nature of their values and actions.
Fast food delivery companies,for example, paying poverty wages, and no sick pay or holiday pay presenting a smiling face to the public by changing its logo to rainbow colours for PRIDE week. A cosmetics company declaring its support for PRIDE but sacking its celebrity promoter for speaking out aganist racism or the major UK bank which adds rainbow colours to its credit cards and merchandising while being guilty of gender pay discrimination, financing companies that manufacture and sell arms to Israel for use aganist Palestine and , on an environmental note, bankrolling fossil fuel companies to the tune of billions of US dollars in the last five years alone.
Rainbow capitalism has no conscience and no scrupples. If PRIDE can turn a profit or enhance its image, then it’s game on.
Endorsements by global brands do not liberate, elevate or alleviate the human condition. As we rightly celebrate PRIDE 2022, we should reflect on its origins and its purpose. We should not content ourselves with a level of recognition and acceptance inside a social order that is corrupt, oppressive and dehumanising.
Capitalism is captialism, what ever colours it chooses to dress up in.