OPINION - Fat Tony: Pride Month is becoming less fashionable for big corporations — we see you

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

I’m not being funny but… I’m proud to be a gay man all year. That doesn’t mean Pride Month isn’t something that should be celebrated. People often ask why we still need Pride. We live in a time that’s as divisive as ever, governments around the world are continually trying to strip us of our right to just be. You bet we still need a month where we celebrate love, individuality and freedom while also educating all generations about the history and importance of queer people and culture.

Over the years, we’ve all seen how corporations love to capitalise on the pink pound in June. I mean who can ever forget Marks & Spencer’s LGBT sandwich. FYI, the letters stand for lettuce, guacamole, bacon and tomato. Mhmm. Our community has more and more been speaking up for companies to support us year round and not just for one day or month of the year. We have been asking that they do real work, that they provide equitable opportunity, that their campaigns reflect everyone and that they are supportive of those in need. And for the most part it’s worked. Some of the biggest brands out there are now showing up for us year in year out — and we notice it.

But then some brands aren’t. It feels like the support around Pride Month has been dying for the past few years. Since the pandemic, there aren’t as many major budgets to put on great campaigns. A lot of corporations are just adding Pride flags to their socials or popping them in windows and their job is done. On top of this, with all the fearmongering being spewed, we’re in a time when some companies are scared of being singled out. Look at Bud Light in the States with Dylan Mulvaney. They put together a perfectly innocent paid social post that was light-hearted and fun. It was turned into some unbelievable anti-trans issue and Bud Light quickly withdrew their support for her. Well, now, almost a year later we won’t know if their drop in sales is on par with the growing trend of young people not drinking or was because of the boycott but one thing is for sure here. The clear message that we don’t have unwavering support from anyone. That is why we still need Pride.

With our rights constantly in jeopardy, we need all the real support which we can get right now

I’m not asking that companies reach deeply into their pockets this year so we can throw some fun or fancy parties. With our rights being constantly in jeopardy, we need all the real support we can get. There are some incredible charities out there that need our support all year round and London Pride being only a few weeks away, when better a time to mention them than now?

Not A Phase, founded by Danielle St James, and a charity for which I am proudly a patron, has been doing important grassroots work for the trans+ community since 2020. Its work focuses on supporting trans+ and gender diverse adults through social projects and funding trans+ led initiatives. It provides diversity and inclusion training to organisations and its Misfits fitness and wellness programme has seen hundreds of queer people create their own social communities through exercise.

Switchboard is another one. In 2024 it marks 50 years of incredible work supporting the community. Switchboard and its valuable volunteers provide 24-hour support to vulnerable LGBTQ+ individuals, to their friends and families that might need advice, they listen to those who feel at times like they have no one to listen. Whether it’s seeking recommendations for queer-friendly therapy or parents asking how best to support a child going through their gender expression journey, or guiding someone suffering from addiction towards the right help, I can’t stress how important Switchboard has been for me and so many people in our community. It has helped four million people over the years. Truly incredible.

So be an ally this year. If you can afford to, go support one of these organisations today. A community goes beyond a single group. If one of us feels supported that energy will extend others. Time to put out some positive vibes today everyone! Happy Pride and… See you next Wednesday.

Track of the Week: A Deeper Love — C+C Music Factory

Fat Tony is a DJ and bestselling author