Annual Pride events are deeply rooted in the political struggle of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) communities for freedom, equality and social justice.
Until recently, brands and businesses rarely spoke out in support of LGBTQ activism. However in recent years, global fashion brands, along with banks, supermarkets and other businesses now march in Pride parades and emblazon the high streets with rainbow flags during the summer months.
Big brands commodify and profit from Pride by selling rainbow t-shirts with slogans about equality, love & freedom to be yourself. But whilst brands cash in from Pride, what are they doing to support queer & trans workers in the global garment industry?
LGBTQ garment workers, along with their colleagues, are still fighting for basic labour rights including a living wage, the right to join a union and safe working conditions. It is not enough for brands to advocate for freedom and equality for LGBTQ people in consumer countries, whilst ignoring the workers, including those who are LGBTQ, who make their clothes.
We have been working with UNISON on a practical toolkit to help groups who organise Pride events to source Pride merchandise, such as rainbow flags or t-shirts responsibly. Together we have the purchasing power to push for real change in the garment industry and to extend the values of Pride, freedom, equality and justice throughout supply chains.