Rainbow Capitalism Explained

Written on 06/22/2021
Jayme Tucker

Pride month brings with it numerous celebrations and a hard-to-miss wash of rainbow colours adorning storefronts, social media accounts, and more merchandise than anyone could possibly need.

The creeping presence of major corporations like Telus, TD Canada Trust, CTV, and more has led to the term ‘rainbow capitalism’ being coined.

Rainbow capitalism describes the shallow rainbow washing of corporations in an attempt to appear socially progressive and gain queer consumers. Several major companies have faced backlash for their surface-level allyship. Walmart, for example, is a sponsor of the Vancouver Pride celebrations but has donated to Donald Trump and other Republican campaigns in the U.S.

Major online retailer Amazon has created an online Pride shop but continues to allow anti-LGBT+ initiatives on its charity platform and has previously donated to politicians voting against the Equality Act.

There’s a lot to uncover regarding major retailers and their contributions to the LGBTQIA2S community. So how do you support actual queer people during Pride?

An excellent place to start is by donating to queer-focused charities directly. Qmunity out of Vancouver is a queer, trans, and two-spirit resource center aiming to improve the lives of queer folk across BC through support, connection, and leadership. Rainbow Refugee is another BC-based organization helping people flee persecution from countries where queer lives are still criminalized or in danger.

Donating to local Pride societies and initiatives is also a great way to get involved, whether you’re donating money or volunteering time.

Give to your queer friends and family! You know that friend you have that paints? Buy a painting. Donate to their PayPal or Kofi, subscribe to their Twitch channel or Patreon. This directly supports the people in your life with their passions and helps them build their businesses and portfolios.

You can also buy products from a queer-owned and operated business. A little research can lead to some true gems, whether they’re a small Etsy store or a local chain.

Finally, there are some large retailers that are doing their best. It’s always wise to do a little research before throwing your cash at any seller, especially during Pride and varied activism initiatives. Keep an eye on the product descriptions for where the proceeds from sales are going, and it’s never a bad thing to ask customer service either.

Next week we’re going back to basics and breaking down the LGBTQIA2S+ acronym!

Jayme D. Tucker is a journalist, writer, and performer settled on unceded Syilx territory. They're queer, tall, and tired of answering all the same token questions when they come out; So they're answering those questions and more for thehub.LGBT Kelowna. They've written for Daily Hive Calgary, won a scholarship for fiction writing with Eat North, and is the founder of The Queer Agenda, a non-profit social group focused on sober friendly, all-ages networking for LGBTQ2IA+ individuals (currently on COVID hiatus).

(Image Credit: CNN)