Abercrombie, I do appreciate well-intentioned moves. When I read that Abercrombie teamed up with the Trevor Project, I was ecstatic. Creating a collection during LGBTQ Pride Month, that will aid in preventing suicide of LGBTQ children and adolescents? Amazing, and a great message to queer consumers, that your brand stands behind and supports them.
That is, until that tweet.
Listen, it was of no malicious intent. Kayla might have meant something like everyone should support the movement, which is awesome. But, that isn’t what she said or how she said it.
“The Pride community is everybody, not just LGBTQ people.”
Let us go back and think of how Gay Pride Month originated in the first place. Shall we? Surprisingly enough, it was not so that people could parade around in the streets, deck themselves out in rainbow flags, and post photos on social media, although that is a part of the modern day fun. It was about nothing of the sort back in the day, however, because it was not to celebrate pride in the first place. Pride Month was created to honor the Stonewall Riots of 1969, one of the biggest and most significant events of the Gay Liberation Movement. Gay Pride Month, which was later changed to LGBTQ Pride Month, began as a means for us to fight for our basic human rights. There was, and still is, an infinite amount of hatred, and discrimination, and oppression thrown towards those who are LGBTQ. Pride Month began, and continues to be, about overcoming that hatred, spreading love, and making a positive stance on all of the negatives that come our direction.
So, no. Pride is not about everyone, and while our community is open and accepting, there is a fine line between admiring and supporting something, and feeling as though you are a part of something. Taking something that is a part of, and belongs to, us and making it about cisgendered, straight folk isn’t right. That doesn’t sit well with me, Abercrombie, and to be frank, I don’t think it has sat well with anyone else who is LGBTQ.
Even now, in a world that has changed and improved for queer people, it has only done so because of those who fought before us. It is not an entire month dedicated to being queer, or bisexual, or anything else, for that matter,. Rather, it is a month where we honor those who gave their lives, and gave us the gift of being able to be open and celebrate who we are without complete prosecution. There is a somber undertone of Pride Month, because while we are celebrating our wins and achievements, we remember the hatred and oppression that caused us to create the month in the first place.
Don’t misunderstand me, I love allies. Nothing makes me happier than logging on to social media and seeing straight friends posting about Pride Month, or reacting to things with the Pride Reaction, or generally promoting or sharing the message that love is love. I wish I could squeeze all allies and give them the biggest hug, because their voice does make a difference in making me feel supported and loved. But, none of my friends who happen to be allies would ever tell me that Pride Month is about them.
Something can be celebrated by all without being catered or dedicated to all. Let us all celebrate the fact that we are becoming equal and have gained more human rights, that we can get married and be who we are and be open about such. Absolutely. It would be an absolute dream for everyone to celebrate that alongside us, to celebrate our victories. But, that does not mean that this month, or pride in general, is for them, about them, or dedicated to them. The fact of the matter is, besides the fact that we still live in the shadows of persecution now, Pride Month began as an honor and a fight of our people. We can’t and won’t forget that, and no matter how fun and colorful a month it becomes, our civil rights will forever remain the root of this month.
Thank you for supporting us, and for showing love and concern for LGBTQ youth. That is incredible, and I hope that other companies see that and follow in similar footsteps. All we ask is that when celebrating and promoting Pride Month, remember who and what it is about.