Don’t get baited by queer capitalism! Support LGBTQIA+ owned businesses and beam with “pride”!
Starting June 1, most companies plaster the familiar rainbow on their logos and across their product offerings. Looking at all of this, it becomes easy enough to forget that most of these brands do this simply as a once-in-a-year tradition instead of practicing what they preach—to support the LGBTQIA+ community all year round.
Even though it is important to support the LGBTQIA+ community year-round, the month of June is of crucial importance to the community. June commemorates the Stonewall riots that took place in the U.S. in 1969 where 13 people from the LGBT community were harassed and arrested. Pride parades in June are thus a way to remember the struggles of the queer community back then and highlight the inequities the community faces to this day.
To fully support the cause, it is important that instead of buying the latest rainbow-themed merchandise every June, we support the community by spending money on the businesses run by them. If you are not sure where to start, here is a list of some interesting LGBTQIA+ businesses that should be on your radar.
If you are into Anime or Manga and have been dying to taste Japanese snacks, Bokksu can help. Bokksu is a monthly subscription box that gives you 15-16 Japanese snacks from different parts of the country to try. The box not only gives you unique flavors to sample each month but also walks you through what each snack is and how it is made. Bokksu’s CEO Brian Tiang is a proud member of the queer community and believes that it has helped him create a strong support system. Bokksu first entered the market in 2015 and has since expanded into Bokksu Market and Bokksu Grocery where you can buy Japanese lifestyle products and Asian groceries respectively.
TomboyX is a line of undergarments and swimwear designed by co-founders and partners Fran Dunaway and Naomi Gonzalez. Launched in 2013, Tomboy X was originally a clothing brand that created masculine clothing offerings for women only to later shift to pivot to selling undergarments.
What sets them apart from other companies in the space is that they offer a wide variety of underwear—anything from boxer briefs and thongs to leakproof period underwear. Moreover, they also offer their products in a wide range of sizes, from extra small to 4X, all for the same price. The company also is eager to give back to the LGBTQIA+ community by supporting non-profit organizations on a quarterly basis.
Automatic Gold is a queer-owned jewelry brand that creates products that are wearable on a day-to-day basis. Automatic Gold’s founder Al Sandimirova says that they created their brand because it was hard to find jewelry that sat on the fine line between not too masculine and too feminine. The company does its bit for the environment by creating its products from reclaimed gold and shipping them to customers in recycled packaging. Their product listings feature size-inclusive models from diverse gender and racial backgrounds. So, supporting them is a way to support not just one but multiple causes at the same time.
Although millennial women are the number one customer base in the candle industry, enjoying candles doesn’t have to come with a gender label. To break gender barriers surrounding candles, Boy Smells create candles with gender-neutral scents. The founders, Matthew Herman and David Kien, package their candles in pink boxes to challenge gender norms and sell products that fit diverse modern identities. The company is an active supporter of the LGBTQIA+ community and is going to donate 10% of the sale proceeds from their pride collection to the queer suicide prevention non-profit The Trevor Project.
If you are thinking about switching up your skincare routine, Ghost Democracy just might be what you’re looking for. The company creates inclusive, ultra-clean and budget-friendly skincare products for everyone across the gender spectrum. Their products have no fragrances, silicone or oils. Founder Rex Chou says that his experiences as an Asian-American man have helped him approach the beauty industry from a different perspective. Through Ghost Democracy, he hopes to spread the message that skincare is for everyone.
Being good, genuine allies to the LGBTQIA+ community means uplifting them by showing tangible monetary support for queer-run businesses. Buying from queer-run businesses is not only a monetary help but is also a way for community representation to become mainstream, encouraging more budding queer entrepreneurs to enter the market.
Although it’s great to support these businesses during Pride Month, it is important to remember that small businesses need year-round attention to be sustainable in the long run. With that said, hopefully, you found at least one business worth checking out on our list.
- Maricoin: World’s First LGBTQAI+ Crypto or a Scam?
- Gender in the NFT Economy
- Why Black Businesses Matter in Hong Kong
Header image courtesy of Freepik