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Carson Jones

Welcome to my perspective. Equality, environment, health, life, and being a better human. Enjoy!

Dear Target, Banana Republic, Nike, H&M, and others… so I’ve got a bone to pick with you,

Dear Target, Banana Republic, Nike, H&M, and others… so I’ve got a bone to pick with you,

Dear Target, Banana Republic, Nike, H&M, and others… so I’ve got a bone to pick with you,

I didn’t experience by first pride event until I was 22 years old living in Denver, CO. Pride in my hometown of Birmingham definitely exists. Central Alabama Pride is celebrating 41 years of Pride this year in fact. However, my adolescent experience had not really been about discovering myself, it had been about working. Therefore, when I found the gay community while living in Denver, it was eye-opening and exciting to see so many people proud to be themselves especially in such a public space. During that pride event, I didn’t have a single rainbow piece of attire. I had never really been interested in wearing my sexuality on a piece of clothing, but I also had no idea how important and impactful it would be, not only for myself but for others, to see such a public demonstration of support for the queer community just by wearing a t-shirt. 

That was two years ago. Now fast forward to 2019 and I love me some rainbow shit. Especially in June. I might not wear it year-round, but you can bet that my credit cards are gonna be hurting once this month is over from buying the newest line of pride merchandise from a variety of different retailers. It is incredible to see how large corporations are taking such a strong stand for the gay community by producing merchandise to put in stores around the country for Pride month. 

Around the country… but not in the South. Last year, my attempt to load up on Pride merchandise from retailers such as Target, Banana Republic, Nike, H&M, and others was foiled. Not because they had run out of these items in their Birmingham area locations, but because their Birmingham locations weren’t carrying the products at all. So let’s talk about what message is being sent here. Large corporations are supporting pride, producing products, generating revenue, and taking a stand. But only taking a stand in “safe” markets, where they know the products will sell, is disingenuous. Queer people in New York City for instance know that they are being supported. They have gay bars for miles, gay representation in government, and non-profits and social advocacy groups making sure that their voices are heard. I know that they appreciate the support from these large corporations, but they also don’t need it. Queer people in rural America and the South need that support. If these companies were to place Pride merchandise in stores in small-town America it could be the only rainbow thing that queer people in that town see during Pride month. It could be that glimmer of hope that folks in that area need. People in small towns rarely have pride parades. They rarely have the opportunity to participate in the queer community. But these corporations have an opportunity to bring these folks into the fold during Pride month. They have the opportunity to demonstrate that their social advocacy as a corporation goes beyond profits and is truly based on supporting people and helping to craft a better and more inclusive America.  

I understand that these corporations have a fear of turning off customers by prominently promoting pride products in “unfriendly” territory. But at the end of the day, these companies generate millions (if not billions) of dollars. They have a real opportunity and responsibility to change minds and hearts in these areas. They have the opportunity to save lives by showing queer people in the South and beyond who are struggling that there is a community out there supporting them and rooting for them. 

For the time being, I’ll keep purchasing my pride merchandise online. I’ll keep supporting these brands and their social mission. But, I hope that this year is different. That these companies be bold and support the LGBTQ+ community across the entire country. They might lose some customers. They might get some negative Facebook reviews. But at the end of the day changing the world isn’t easy. And we can’t change the world by staying in our corners and playing it safe.

Sincerely, 

Carson

Dear 4am Carson, what the hell are you doing? Sincerely, 4pm Carson

Dear 4am Carson, what the hell are you doing? Sincerely, 4pm Carson