The colors of June are bright and almost impossible to miss. Suddenly rainbows emerge on every street corner, every shop window, parades march the cities. The message seems clear: we are out, we are proud, and we claim our space.
But beneath the flashing colors and rainbow-striped flags, some problems emerge, that have gained more attention over the past years. There is barely one of the big companies that doesn’t take part in the sudden flood of Pride products, launching elaborate collections during the month of June, only to sweep the stores clear of them again, as soon as Pride month is over. This commercialization of Pride is heavily criticized in the queer community but as always more of an ambiguous affair, not black and white as some loud voices try to paint it.
Of course, the visibility that this flood of Pride products creates mustn’t be neglected, the exposure to the topic is unavoidable and the normalization of it remarkable.
The question that remains, however, is how representative of the reality of the LGBTQ+ community this flood of rainbows is and how genuine the support is that is being conveyed by companies and governments during June. Many voice the concern that one month a year is not enough to celebrate and create visibility for a community that is still so very much suppressed in many parts of the world and often harassed in almost all. The representation that is created during Pride month does in most cases do not include those who need it most: queer people from backgrounds that don’t allow them to celebrate proudly on the streets or who can’t afford to buy the rainbow products advertised everywhere.
The history of Pride parades, which originally served to uphold the memory of the first riots of members of the queer community against police violence and harassment, dating back to the most famous Stonewall Riots in 1969, is also barely a topic anymore, even though it marked the start of the fights for rights that is still relevant and ongoing today.
So, this year, while celebrating Pride month, think back to the long fight for rights the queer community had to endure and is still enduring, despite the rainbows flooding the cities during June.