HomeFinanceRainbow capitalism: how companies profit off off LGBTQ+

Rainbow capitalism: how companies profit off off LGBTQ+

Annually in June, each main retailer you stroll into nearly smacks you within the face with rainbow every little thing if you stroll within the entrance door. I’ll admit that, like most, I’ve simply been swayed by Goal’s Satisfaction part up to now. Because of this I, additionally like most, am contributing to rainbow capitalism.

That can assist you (and me) keep away from falling sufferer to the season’s faux-supportive promoting, let’s speak about what precisely rainbow capitalism is and a few simple methods to acknowledge it.

Supply: Giphy.com

What’s rainbow capitalism?

With Satisfaction month upon us, I’m certain you’ve heard the time period “rainbow capitalism” only a few occasions on TikTok. The time period, additionally usually known as “pink capitalism,” refers back to the adoption and creation of LGBTQ+ stances and merchandise by firms that don’t in any other case actively help the group.

The intention right here is to make a revenue (sometimes throughout Satisfaction month) — to not truly battle for equality.

A gif of Spongebob Squarepants making a rainbow over his head

Supply: Giphy.com


Rainbow capitalism feels performative and never genuine. Corporations have rainbow greenback indicators of their eyes and all of a sudden change into oblivious to the hurt they’ve carried out up to now to the LGBTQ+ group.

Why is rainbow capitalism dangerous?

So, why not simply be glad that firms are attempting to point out their help? Properly, rainbow capitalism is dangerous as a result of it takes cash that might immediately profit the LGBTQ+ group and places it within the pockets of huge firms.

For instance, throughout Satisfaction month, many individuals purchase merchandise from main retailers like Goal and Walmart. Nevertheless, there are many different queer-owned small companies additionally attempting to promote their Satisfaction merch.

Even worse, a few of these large firms revenue off being supportive of the LGBTQ+ group, however have insurance policies that negatively affect their LGBTQ+ staff or donate cash to anti-LGBTQ+ organizations and charities.

Easy methods to spot rainbow capitalism

It may be tough for the common client to distinguish between firms attempting to really do good and people who are simply attempting to make a buck. Some surefire indicators that an organization simply desires your cash embrace:

  • Rainbow logos – Whereas including a rainbow to your emblem in celebration of Satisfaction looks like a beautiful gesture of help, it’s not a alternative for activism and doesn’t imply an organization mechanically helps the LGBTQ+ group. (Editor’s observe: Right here at Cash Below 30, we’ve turned our personal emblem right into a rainbow for Satisfaction month; nonetheless, we’re additionally actively working to extend our editorial protection to replicate the precise wants of the LGBTQ+ group.)
  • Sponsorships – Typically firms sponsor complete Satisfaction occasions or floats in parades, however they achieve this to earn a revenue, to not help LGBTQ+ people. For instance, Budweiser creator, Anheuser-Busch, has sponsored Chicago and Boston Prides for years. However the firm has a historical past of supporting lawmakers who again anti-LGBTQ+ insurance policies.
  • Mildly (or utterly) offensive merchandise – It’s clear that many firms that launch every little thing from t-shirts to tote baggage to socks and extra have by no means truly spoken to a member of the LGBTQ+ group. A lot of their slogans find yourself making a mockery of a marginalized group.

Corporations infamous for rainbow capitalism

Many large company firms are responsible of rainbow capitalism, sadly. Even the businesses trying to now change their tune have a historical past of discrimination, whether or not in employment or pay. Listed here are three particular examples:

  • Tesla – Tesla tops the listing. Their current tweet letting everybody know they have been “100/100 for seventh yr in a row for LGBTQ equality” as an organization is solely an inaccurate description of the corporate’s historical past. A number of occasions, founder Elon Musk has tweeted and mocked gender pronouns and transgender rights.
  • Walmart – Not solely did Walmart come out with a few of the most embarrassing Satisfaction merchandise this yr (shirts that learn “I MAY BE STRAIGHT BUT I DON’T HATE,” and “HOMOSEXUAL ALIEN”), however they’ve an extended historical past of discrimination as a enterprise. For starters, they donate hundreds of thousands every year to Republican lawmakers who repeatedly help anti-gay and anti-transgender payments that restrict the rights of those teams.
  • Residence Depot – Residence Depot is one more firm that, regardless of posting a month-to-month Satisfaction submit on social media and dutifully saying they’re considering of their LGBTQ+ staff, has supplied their help to politicians who blocked the Equality Act. Moreover, one of many co-founders has lengthy since been a donor to the Republican social gathering and politicians who’re unsupportive of the LGBTQ+ group.

Corporations which might be supportive all yr

Fortunately, an increasing number of firms are supporting the LGBTQ+ group in respectful, and truly useful methods. Listed here are a couple of examples of firms which might be doing issues the proper method:

  • Google – Google is a good firm to all of its staff, LGBTQ+ staff included. Their Satisfaction web page clearly outlines what LGBTQ+ causes they’ve donated to up to now yr. It’s clear that they help the group all yr lengthy and have added options to their merchandise that may assist the LGBTQ+ group thrive.
  • Intuit – Intuit additionally has a historical past of being good to their LGBTQ+ staff. They’re identified to supply inclusive advantages, plus they’ve a Satisfaction Community, which is an worker useful resource group. Intuit provides these chapters all around the nation, with 300+ members.
  • Nike – Nike commits to serving to nonprofits additional their work with communities just like the LGBTQ+ group. This yr, they acknowledged 18 organizations which might be serving to to advance LGBTQ+ causes. They supplied a complete of $625,000 to those companies.

Easy methods to keep away from rainbow capitalism

Avoiding rainbow capitalism is the one method we might be able to put an finish to it. There are some simple steps each ally or group member can take to help the LGBTQ+ group throughout Satisfaction:

Purchase from LGBTQ+ artists and creators

By shopping for Satisfaction merch (and non-Satisfaction merch) from LGBTQ+ artists and creators, you’ll be able to ensure that your cash immediately advantages the group. Don’t restrict this follow to only June, nonetheless. LGBTQ+ artists, creators, and enterprise homeowners function all through the complete yr!

If you happen to reside in an space with a small and even non-existent LGBTQ+ group, contemplate buying from on-line creators. Etsy is an efficient place to start out. For Satisfaction merch, my private favourite store is DeerQueer.

Learn extra: 7 LGBTQ+-owned small companies to help this Satisfaction month

Take part all yr, not simply in June

Satisfaction isn’t the one time to purchase from LGBTQ+ companies, or donate to causes, or attend academic occasions. Native faculties usually have audio system in the course of the faculty yr who’re a part of the LGBTQ+ group and could also be open to the general public.

One other instance consists of artwork exhibitions placed on by LGBTQ+ artists all year long.  Attending these occasions makes it simpler to make sure that any cash you spend goes to members of the group.

Spend money on companies that help LGBTQ+ causes all yr lengthy

Moreover bodily supporting LGBTQ+-owned companies, allies and members of the group ought to make investments their cash in the proper place as properly. If you happen to observe SRI investing rules and discover robo-advisors who will help automate these investments for you, your cash can go in direction of making optimistic change.

As well as, you’ll be able to speak to your monetary advisor and make a plan to put money into LGBTQ+ communities. Your advisor is there to ensure that your investments align together with your activism and cash objectives.

Learn extra: Socially accountable investing: learn how to change into a acutely aware investor

Do your analysis earlier than donating/shopping for

It’s simple to imagine the very first thing you examine an organization, however it’s worthwhile to do your due diligence and spend a couple of minutes trying into your investments, charitable giving, and the merchandise you purchase. Ask your self if the businesses and causes you help really try to enhance the lives of LGBTQ+ people.


This yr, take a minute before you purchase your Satisfaction merch from a big-box retailer on-line. These shops could possibly be key gamers within the perpetuation of rainbow capitalism, which negatively impacts the LGBTQ+ group, whereas placing cash within the pockets of rich firms.

When massive firms line their racks with rainbow flags and different merchandise, they’re seeking to revenue and to revenue solely. All year long, they might donate to causes or individuals who wish to take away the rights of LGBTQ+ people. Supporting queer-owned companies is a place to begin for placing rainbow capitalism to relaxation.

Featured picture: CREATIVE WONDER/Shutterstock.com

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