The self-expression promoted in Pride parades has been increasingly facilitated by corporate sponsors. Anyone who has attended a major Pride event in recent years has felt the heavy presence of big businesses: Wells Fargo, TD Bank, Walmart, and Diet Coke, to name a few. According to Project Queer, more than half of the 253 participants in the 2015 Chicago Pride Parade were corporations, businesses, and banks. In comparison, LGBTQ groups represented less than 10% of the participants.
Not only is it irresponsible to corporatize Pride, many of the sponsorships promote products or lifestyles that are inaccessible or insensitive to the LGBTQ community across the United States. In New York, the Pride Parade runs down 5th Avenue in Manhattan, passing mainly high-profile shops and neighborhoods fitting of high-figure salaries. The Guardian notes that many of San Francisco Pride’s biggest sponsors, like Facebook and Google, contribute to the growing income inequality in Silicon Valley, while members of the LGBTQ community struggle with homelessness in skyrocketing numbers.
And The Chicagoist points out that alcohol companies frequently sponsor Pride events—yet over 30% of the LGBTQ community is projected to struggle with drug and alcohol addiction, a rate three times higher than the general population.
Others feel unsafe by support from big businesses. Members of the LGBTQ community have rallied against Wells Fargo’s sponsorship in particular, criticizing the bank’s history of investing in private prisons that incarcerate LGBTQ persons, especially queer and trans people of color, at disproportionate rates.
1.) one or both of people you see as a “straight couple” could be pan/bi/poly/ace
2.) one or both of them could be trans or non binary
3.) you could be misgendering someone
4.) They could be there to give moral support to a queer friend or family member who didn’t want to go alone.
Number four is important
5. They could be there because they support the cause stop fucking gatekeeping
6. They could be there in memory of a loved one, don’t forget Pride used to be a memorial as well as a celebration. I know a good number of straight people who go to Pride to celebrate the lives of friends and family who have died because they want to remember them as they lived, happy and joyful and surrounded by a community that loved them.
ALL OF THE FUCKING ABOVE.
“4.) They could be there to give moral support to a queer friend or family member who didn’t want to go alone.”
Important note: LGBTQ+ people who are part of multiple marginalized groups might bring someone within one (or more) of those groups (or a trusted ally of said group(s)) who isn’t LGBTQ+ for safety reasons/moral support.
7) They could be questioning. They may not be ready to tell people they are, or may not even realize it themself. Many (if not most) of the LGBTQ+ people I know initially identified as allies. Media representation is scarce, and even when we do get it, meeting people ‘like us’ in person is so, so important to many of our journeys, even if we don’t recognize we’re also LGBTQ+ at first. People who don’t even know they’re questioning are still hurt by anti-LGBTQ+ bigotry, and attending LGBTQ+ events could be lifesaving. For many of us, saying “I’m an ally” is our first step to coming out as LGBTQ+ to ourselves.
8) They could know they are LGBTQ+ and not be ready or able to come out. Going as ‘an ally’ works as cover for a lot of people who are only partially out, or not out at all. Allowing “allies” works as a cover that can literally save lives.
9) I’d take hanging out with a respectful ally who’s willing to listen and try their best to be supportive over someone who’s LGBTQ+ but homophobic, biphobic, transphobic, sexist, racist, ableist, identity policing, or otherwise an asshole.
This is adorable. A met police officer proposed to his boyfriend during London Pride.