So, I will make no secret that I’m rolling my eyes at all of that marketing stuff that goes up every year. But I’ve been thinking, it doesn’t have to be so superficial and pointless. Maybe there’s some rare exception out there that took the opportunity to say or do something meaningful.

Did you come across a company or organisation lately that use the occasion to take some stance beyond feelgood buzzwords or implement a policy internally or in their area of operations that is of at least some importance?

  • Boz (he/him)
    5 months ago

    Penzey’s Spices has been donating the proceeds from the sale of certain products to an organization supporting trans rights in Florida. They are also talking about Stonewall and outrage as part of their Pride messaging, rather than just vague feel-good phrases like “Love Wins.” I don’t mind feel-good messaging, but for Pride, feel-good always feels to me like the company is trying to communicate LGBTQ+ support without actually saying anything “controversial” and supportive, so I appreciate Penzey’s taking a more definite stand. They also always do some merch that’s more creative than just sticking a rainbow on something, which is not exactly meaningful, but I like it. Penzey’s is one of the few companies I support partly for their politics (though, fair disclosure, I also adore their products, and highly recommend trying them even if you don’t care about their messaging, especially the salt-free spice blends).

    On a less meaningful, but nice note, Shipt put the trans and PoC stripes in their logo as well as the standard rainbow, which I like. Sadly, they’re not a very competent service. The actual people who work for them are fine, but their website “works” like it’s 1999, which is to say, it doesn’t. So, on one level, I feel supported, but on another level, are they really LGBTQ±friendly if they aren’t customer-friendly in general? They aren’t saying mean things, but neither are they making my life more enjoyable.

    …I’m kind of joking, but also not. I know it’s a little outside what you’re asking, but I feel like it’s important to judge companies as businesses, not as human-like entities. A business has no feelings or opinions. Marketing campaigns that present human feelings or opinions are fake, and if you know how to spot a fake, they will seem fake to you, even if there are positive policies behind the messaging. That’s part of why I don’t get too upset when a company’s pride messaging seems superficial. It might be deliberately misleading, or it might not, but it can’t be real, and I don’t need to torture myself looking for authenticity. I’d rather just enjoy the show, and look for actual facts about the company’s policies.

    Ultimately, I think companies can have positive or negative effects on the LGBTQ+ community, but it’s a lot more complicated than whether they do something meaningful for Pride, or something superficial, or nothing at all. I want to know if they offer employees health insurance that pays for HRT for trans people. I want to know if they sell those cute pumps in size 11 Wide. And, by the way, who makes their shoes, and what are those workers paid? Are they good shoes? I don’t have time to ask all those questions in June. But I do have time to keep track of which companies are trying to sell me “LGBTQ+ friendly” as part of their product line, so I can check later. As others have said, whether those campaigns are backed up by actions or not, it’s nice to see my community celebrated, and my gender and sexuality validated.

    Besides, as Bud Light discovered, sometimes the wrong people are going to take those cynical, superficial gestures seriously, and then you might have to admit you were just kidding, which, although true, will not convince the people who are angry, and instead, will make a lot of other people angry. I found that whole business hilarious.