Pride Month is the time of the year where we celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community and queer folks tell the world that we are proud of our sexuality and gender. It’s the time where we remember how far we’ve gone and how our queer ancestors got us here. It’s also the time when stores like Walmart remember that gay people exist and that some even have money. Capitalism has this magical ability to make every moment into money. When you look at the Pride collections, you can tell that some of these were just made to make companies more money.
Most of these companies have never collaborated with a queer artist who may actually know what type of pride merchandise queer people actually want. Stores like Shein just put together all of their rainbow clothes and called it their “Pride Collection.'' A lot of companies are stepping up and donating to LGBTQIA+ charities this year. However this year why don’t celebrate pride merch designs made by the LGBTQIA+ community or made by companies that will give some of the money back to the LGBTQIA+ community. Our Pride and our fight for equality doesn’t end when June is over, so let’s support businesses that celebrate our pride all year long. Let’s start with an iconic queer brand, Teletubbies.
Yep, it’s the Teletubbies you are thinking about. Teletubbies has been an important brand in the queer community for a long time. The purple Teletubby was accused of being gay in the 1990’s by televangelist Jerry Falwell because of its purple color (purple is part of the gay pride color), as well the triangle on top of its head being the same shape of the gay pride symbol. The queer community started to accepted the purple Teletubby as a member of their own community. The purple Teletubby was even called a queer role model for toddlers. Now, the childhood show has started their own Pride merchandise line that gives back to queer community; some of the proceeds go to GLAAD, the LGBTQ+ media organization.
We Are Femme Forte
“Gay” and “sustainable” are the two words I would use to describe this amazing brand. We Are Femme Forte started as a way to help raise money to open a LGBTQ+ community centre in London. The owner, Zoe Schulz, also wanted to start a brand that was kind to our planet to show that we don’t need fast fashion to have a good sense of style, and that we should tell bigger brands that we demand our clothing be made in an ethical, environmentally-friendly way. Since the brand has started, they were able to open an LGBTQ+ center in London. The brand is focused on helping homeless LGBTQ+ youth and support families of transgender children and help people with periods get access to period products. Every collection has a different cause it goes towards. We Are Femme Forte goes out of their way to make clothing that makes you feel about how you spend your money.
This is a brand that truly loves their community. According to their website, Heckin Unicorn describes themselves as a “Singapore-base queer brand that’s made by queer people, for queer people.” Throughout this June, the brand is pledging 10% of sales toward TransBefrienders and Action for AIDS. TransBefrienders helps trans youth in Singapore find peer support and succeed in their education by providing tutoring, mentorships, and a safe space for studying. Action for AIDS focuses on helping people living with AIDS in South and South-East Asia. The brand has spoken out against Conversion Therapy (it still remains legal in Singapore). Heckin Unicorn is focus on helping the queer community in Singapore and making sure queer people have access to the support they need.