Organizations welcomed by pride community, but wariness remains over corporate involvement

TRU will host its sixth annual pride parade this year, and community engagement is expected to be high. Fourteen individual organizations, parties, businesses and churches will be participating in the event in a display of solidarity with the movement.

“It’s really good to have organizational support. It showcases that there are businesses, faith groups, resources and services that LGBTQ2S+ people can go to and feel fully accepted and welcomed,” TRUSU’s LGBTQ representative Dale Drozda said.

“These organizations can have leaders or members who identify as part of the community and that’s really powerful. It goes to show that despite discrimination in hiring practices that sometimes happens, there are still people who are making it out there.”

An organization’s support can also mean a lot to the movement at large.

“It’s nice to know that people are willing to be bold and stand up for what they believe in, and for marginalized communities.”

For the members of the pride community, having the sense of security from organizations is important.

“For me, going into a place and knowing my perspective is valued by that group, whatever it may be, is an incredible feeling. Feeling safe is another part of it, knowing that you can go somewhere and not be worried about getting weird looks or something like that,” Drozda said.

However, the effect corporations can have in pride movements isn’t always positive. There is contention in the movement about corporatization and the practices of companies that endorse the community.

“[A corporation’s] involvement is usually good, but there’s a conversation being had in the community about their role. This is a bigger problem at larger prides where there’s a question of ‘do you feel as if [the movement is] being overshadowed by a large corporate balloon with a lot of money? Are they just here to promote themselves?’”

There’s been a growing wariness of corporations involving themselves in pride after Netflix advertisements featuring the rainbow pride flag and the words, ‘rainbow is the new black’ surfaced in some metropolitan cities around the world. One twitter user changed the text to read ‘rainbow is the new marketing strategy’ and the original tweet was retweeted over 25,000 times.

“The worry is about companies that don’t practice what they’re presenting,” Drozda said, referencing L’Oreal Paris’ decision to fire a model after she spoke out about racism. “Some large companies view us as a demographic to reach and they do that by presenting themselves as supportive and involved in our struggle.”