Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Vote With Your Money, Honey

So, most monday nights I go to a local gay night club for their weekly Ru Paul's Drag Race viewing party. These viewing parties and the show itself are sponsored by Absolut Vodka, we watch the show with all of the commercials cut except for the ones advertising Absolut, and the drag queen who hosts the viewing party is constantly telling us to drink some Absolut. They even give away a bottle of Absolut each night.

One would think that Absolut, or any other company that advertises on LGBT oriented television is gay friendly, right? But are they? Do they love the gays, or our wallets?

This is not a discussion that hasn't been had before, this idea of whether my generation is the gay movement, or the gay market. We talked about it when Absolut (yes, the same vodka) came out with a special edition pride bottle that was decorated with a rainbow. We've discussed it when it comes to Coors supporting ANYTHING gay.

Most people think that Coors is apologizing for being anti-gay back around stonewall. Back then, we really were a movement, and we boycotted Coors for their anti-gay policies. And they listened. That, is voting with your dollar.

However, somewhere between boycotting Coors and now, we went from boycotting anti-gay companies to supporting gay friendly looking companies. This comes from a good place, that is, supporting LGBTQ and ally owned businesses. But, the companies caught on and, though they may have anti-LGBT policies, advertise during shows geared to LGBT individuals or on LGBT channels (like LOGO and Bravo). Because many individuals are too busy or lazy to do any research on the actual policies the company operates under, we just assume that these companies are LGBTQ friendly.

It used to be mostly alcohol companies that used this marketing plan, but now it's everyone from travel companies to electronics stores. This is not to say that all of these companies have anti-LGBTQ policies, although some do *ahem... Best Buy and Target...* but think about this for a second, we as a market have a lot of power. We as a movement have a lot to achieve.

Why the fuck are we not doing our research? We could, with just our choices of where to shop and what to buy, create some serious change. It's not the only thing we as a movement need to be doing, but it helps, because every small step helps.

Be a movement, not a market. Support companies that actually support LGBTQ rights. Don't support those who don't. See what happens, it might just change some things.

Remember, we are powerful.

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