Change Is In The Air
How can we fight systematic injustice? With our wallets!
In the past week, we have witnessed the next phase in the Black Lives Matter movement and possibly the beginning of a revolution. Police brutality and systematic racism have persisted in the United States of America for centuries. American citizens are finally joining together to express their outrage at the atrocities placed upon their black and brown neighbors. But what can LGBTQ citizens do to help? Well, plenty.
In the past week, we have seen many avenues taken by U.S. citizens as ways to fight police brutality. This includes voting in local and major elections; protesting in the streets; donating to jail support causes and community relief funds; helping with community support efforts like food distribution; sharing information through word of mouth, social media posts, and secure communication lines; and by being selective with the businesses we patron.
The Rainbow Effect
In terms of the latter, that is one avenue that LGBTQ people can be significantly impactful. Let’s face it, the LGBTQ dollar is a powerful thing. If used wisely, it could be a powerful weapon in many political battles. All over the world, businesses vie for LGBTQ people’s money. This is why so many companies come out with pride-themed merchandise every June.
Even in areas of the world where LGBTQ existence is only just getting mainstream recognition and legal backing, companies recognize rainbow money. For instance, 2018 saw an influx of LGBTQ Chinese people buying homes in Thailand. By the time we reported on the phenomenon, LGBTQ Chinese immigrants made 2.5 billion baht (about 80 million US dollars) worth of inquiries into buildings in Bangkok. Then in India, businesses started marketing towards LGBTQ people as soon as India’s Supreme Court decriminalized gay sex. This is because India has almost 56 million LGBTQ adults who make $113 billion combined in a year.
“The Indian LGBT+ market is one that is clearly substantial and which we expect to grow fairly rapidly in coming months and years as a direct result of the Supreme Court decision,” said Ian Johnson, chief executive of Out Now Consulting to the Thomas Reuters Foundation.
“A significant legal change… creates a new visibility and comfort factor for many more companies, who then feel that a barrier is removed, allowing them to comfortably include LGBT+ people as part of their overall marketing efforts,” he added.
More recently, a study came out saying that U.S. same-sex weddings have boosted state and local economy by an estimated $3.8 billion since they were legalized in 2015. This includes $3.2 billion being spent on weddings, $544 million being spent on travel related to weddings, and $244 million that was generated in state and local taxes.
Where To Put Our Money
So it’s been proven time and time again that LGBTQ have power within their wallets. But, where should they focus this power? Besides donating to jail/community support, the best idea is by boycotting businesses that support the Trump administration, support discriminatory rhetoric, practices/organizations, or exhibit discrimination in its own inner workings.
In terms of the Trump administration, the government has proven multiple times that it does not support minority people. Since entering office, Donald Trump and his administration have banned transgender service people from the military, pushed for religious freedom laws that allow Christians to discriminate against LGBTQ people, and they’ve now announced their support for adoption agencies rejecting same-sex couples looking to house a child in need.
Many companies have given their support of the Trump campaign, this includes Facebook, AirBnb, Microsoft, Home Depot, Ashley Furniture, Revlon, Equinox, and more. After Equinox’s chairman announced a fundraiser for Trump, gay men and other LGBTQ people banned together to boycott the gym franchise. This is the type of energy we need for the remainder of the companies on this list and the ones that aren’t.
In addition, there’s a need to stay mindful of organizations that support harmful practices or rhetoric. Whether they be racist sentiments or anti-LGBTQ policies, organizations that push harmful policies should meet pushback. Boycotting and vocalizing opposition to these organizations helps to fight their hateful agendas. Just look at what recently happened with Bon Appetit.
Ultimately, gay men and other LGBTQ people need to recognize their power. The power of gay money is already recognized by companies but not yet feared by them. We should change that. Creating change is not done by one type of effort. Instead, it takes an offensive strike from many angles. And with companies racing to get a slice of the “rainbow economy,” utilizing gay wallets as weapons for change is a great route we can all take.