Seven Businesses To Give Your Money To If You’re Pro-LGBT Equality
While McDonalds hide behind their Big Macs and Coca-Cola get flustered with their confused concept of equality, it’s good to know there are some companies unashamed of standing up to Russia’s anti-gay laws. You’ll have heard of some of them. Others, perhaps not. So while the main Olympic sponsors keep schtum in the hope they won’t be exposed for putting their profits before people, I thought now would be a good opportunity to celebrate some business role models: those proclaiming their support for LGBT people:
Ben & Jerry’s – staunch supporters of LGBT equality for many years, Ben & Jerry’s Dutch arm posted a sweet little image of two cows smooching under a set of heart-shaped Olympic rings on their social media pages. With flowers in both cows’ ears, it could be argued that these were, in fact, two lady-lovin’ cows (not that I’m one for gender stereotypes). Anyway, the intention is awesome. And if you ever needed an excuse to guzzle more B&J’s, this might just be it.
Channel 4 – if you’re based in the UK, you probably know about loud mouth broadcaster Channel 4’s notoriety for speaking out for minorities. Along with their hilarious Russian-bear-meets-gay-bear musical pastiche, they’ve given their logo a seven-coloured makeover to celebrate sexual and gender diversity. And to stick two fingers up to the Russian government, no doubt. If you’re not familiar with their work, the station are the brains behind TV hits such as Skins, Misfits and the original Queer as Folk.
Chobani – How’s this for lactose intolerance? America’s number 1 Greek yoghurt brand recently failed to pass Russian border control laws and has since been sitting in transit in New Jersey; meaning no yummy Chobani for the American athletes. Now, the company are an official US sponsor, so you’d expect they’d be more than a little peeved. Their subsequent move may have sealed their fate in Russia, but it’s worth a round of applause: a photo of multi-coloured stacked yoghurt cartons, that just so happens to be presented like a rainbow. Stomach that, Putin!
Lush Cosmetics – it’s not an issue for me when a company combines their latest PR campaign with a bold message of equality – particularly when said company has a presence in the country said PR exercise is targeting. A courageous move then by Lush, whose Valentine’s Day Sign of Love campaign declares “We believe in love for everyone, between everyone”, specifically citing Russia’s ‘gay propoganda’ laws. They’re encouraging people to paint pink triangles on themselves with lipstick and share photos on social media with the hashtag #signoflove and will deliver these, along with a petition, to Russian embassies around the world.
Google – Probably the most high-profile company to reach out, Google replaced their usual logo with a six-colour salute to equality. OK, so it was technically one shade short of a full rainbow, but who cares when it’s violet that’s MIA? And underneath the image, a quote from the Olympic Charter stating that ‘the practice of sport is a human right’. The image has since changed, but will forever be immortalised in their Google Doodle Museum.
Stoli Vodka – a vodka of Russian origin, now bottled in Latvia, Stoli are not only braving the bullies by splashing a rainbow across their logo, they’re also donating $150,000 to LGBT equality in Russia. The sizeable donation is going to the Russian Freedom Fund, who are based in New York, but work remotely with Russian LGBT citizens to offer support in their home country. That’s just one more excuse to fill my glass with vodka (but hold the Coke).
American Apparel – the international clothes giant have teamed up with LGBT advocates Athlete Ally and AllOut to release a range of items upholding Principle 6 in the Olympic Charter. Yeah, that’s the part that states “Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement”. The ‘otherwise’ part is something the IOC themselves are conveniently side-stepping. Fortunately, American Apparel are calling out the hypocrites. And I’m going online shopping for a new hoodie.
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