2016/06/20

Retailers Subdued In Support Of Gay Pride

Last year, retailers joined in the celebration of extension of marriage rights to same-sex couples that permeated Pride month. From parade floats to social media campaigns, merchants participated in Pride and capitalized on the festive occasion.
(Photo credit: SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP/Getty Images)
Whereas last year retailers were flying the rainbow flag as a banner, creating hashtags and declaring “Love is Love,”  you have to look a lot harder this year to find evidence of that support. Instead of being loud and proud, it’s a quiet kind of support.
Participants in Pride celebrations will see floats and promotional sponsorship from brands, and readers of specialized media will know which companies are supporting LGBTQ issues. But the larger population would be hard pressed to notice.

Perhaps there’s less of a celebratory mood this year, following the massacre of 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. The horrific act has certainly cast a pall over festivities.
Target lost two employees that night, Mercedez Flores and Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo. The company made a $250,000 donation to the OneOrlando Fund, established by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer to help victims and their families in the community.
This more somber approach is evident across retail.

Target does have a Pride shop online and in stores, where shoppers can purchase tank tops and beach towels festooned with rainbows.

Macy’s is out and proud in its support of gay rights this month and throughout the year. It recently partnered with Elton John and Lady Gaga for the Love Bravery collection. The Proposition Love jewelry at Macy’s donates 10% of all proceeds to support marriage equality and gay rights and the retailer supports the Trevor Project, an organization to support young people in the LGBTQ community.

Gap’s Old Navy division has a handful of Pride merchandise for sale online.
But other large retailers are strongly quiet in their support. Walmart celebrated Pride last year and its Asda division in the U.K. has been very vocal in support of LGBTQ rights. But here at home, the company is silent on this and other hot button topics.

Maybe this quiet support of Pride is fallout from the Orlando killings — merchants worry about walking the line between support and crass marketing — or maybe many are weary from the fallout over the rights of transgender individuals to use public restrooms.
Retailers support gay rights and events for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it’s a recognition of thediversity within a company’s customer base and among employees. It’s also good businesses, as cause-related marketing results in sales.

But for some, it’s simply the right thing to do. Because love is love.
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