Gen Z Is Unimpressed With Pride Month. Here’s How It Became An Entire Flop

Fads are simply born to die.

By Andrea Mew5 min read
Pexels/Anna Shvets

Just like how simps are mega cringe for hopelessly pining after their parasocial fantasy females, the corporate world is equally as cringe for latching onto inauthentic, tone-deaf practices like rainbow-washing. And if Gen Z are experts at anything, we’re experts at sniffing out the BS. Our radars are on high alert for environmental greenwashing, slimy politicians, and snake oil salesmen alike because we’ve been trained in an almost Pavlovian manner to take in high volumes of information and parse out the truth for ourselves.

Pride Month 2024 marked the year when rainbow oversaturation officially started to drop off. And believe it or not, it’s not just conservative Zoomers who are bored to death with the corporatization of “pride.”

(Most) Corporations Only Care About Cash

Last year, when Target released its LGBT Pride Month lineup of goodies for the whole family, several skeptical internet sleuths (like myself) saw the writing on the wall. Target was commercializing LGBT ideology for very obvious public profiteering, and the public response? It was so intensely negative that, this year, Target announced it would scale back its Pride-themed offerings.

I’m not drawing faulty conclusions; retail market experts said that Target was dealing with a “no-win solution” and that it caved “to a vocal and hostile contingent.” Target’s 2023 fumble sparked “unprecedented” backlash, according to Newsweek, which had reported that LGBT advocacy group GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign alike were concerned – the latter of which declared a “first-of-its-kind national state of emergency.”

But it’s not like vocal skeptics of corporate rainbow-washing and often lewd Pride celebrations rammed down our throats at every opportunity – even in inappropriate situations, like when children are around – were posing real threats to the LGBT community. Rather, people were engaging in good old-fashioned capitalism by putting economic pressure on corporations and companies that were too busy pandering to a niche.

Pride Month has delivered many corporate flops over the years. Much of modern American culture revolves around consumerism, especially when a social cause could increase a company’s DEI and ESG credibility.

When Postmates announced the release of their “bottom-friendly” menu (no, I’m not kidding) on Instagram, one commenter said, “This is why your competition is destroying you guys. No one needs a commercial and menu for the best options for butt f*cking. I don’t even wanna know what y’all discuss while eating…” 

Burger King Austria thought they’d be cheeky and launch a Pride-themed campaign for their ever-famous Whopper sandwich, where both buns were bottom buns. Their PR agency apologized, saying, "Unfortunately, we still messed up and didn't check well enough with community members on different interpretations of the Pride Whopper.”

Some Pride-themed gestures are harmless, like major companies changing their profile pictures during the month of June to a rainbow–ified alternative (except for the Middle Eastern company branches, though I can’t imagine why!), but even those gestures catch criticism from the LGBT community. Why? Many companies thought they could just pander to Pride with lazy tie-ins, but LGBT activists don’t just demand visibility – they demand money or resources. 

It’s not enough to just release a Pride-themed product if the company isn’t simultaneously pledging profits to LGBT charities or legal funds. Sound similar? The tactics are eerily similar to activism surrounding Black Lives Matter – which corporate America threw $83.1 billion toward and which ended up being a major scam.

Pride Lost the Plot When “LGB” Added “T”

Another eyebrow-raising anecdote from Pride Month 2024 demonstrates how the LGBT community has split agendas in the era of gender LARPing. When fashion brand Mew Mews announced the launch of its “Pride Aura” campaign on Instagram, featuring a male model wearing what consumers thought was women’s clothing, they were flooded with comments accusing them of female erasure.

“So in the name of inclusion, you will purposely exclude women. You’ve erased women,” wrote one commenter on Instagram.

Mew Mews then issued a statement less than a day after its posts got negative attention and turned off its comments on the Pride Aura posts. The sentiment shared by understandably vexed internet users that women’s spaces should stay sacred to women (and men’s spaces should stay sacred to men) is actually a growing concern for the lesbian community.

“A clothing brand for women’s bodies didn’t think about a campaign centred around a lesbian model for pride month? Strange, I wonder why that wasn’t the obvious choice,” one Instagram commenter wrote. Another chimed in, saying, “Y’all couldn’t, idk, feature a lesbian woman?”

Gen Z identifies as LGBT at much higher rates than any previous generation, but even they’re seeing through the lies. The first “Pride” event is actually considered by some to be a riot. After the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, named after the gay club Stonewall Inn that was raided by police, some members of the gay community openly rioted to protest being arrested for their sexuality. 1970 marked the first official “Pride” parade in New York City in recognition of the one-year anniversary of the uprising. But, some of the most popular narratives surrounding Stonewall have been more recently called into question. 

For example, while many members of the gay community and its allies fell for the falsehood that Marsha P. Johnson, a “transgender woman” who was allegedly at the Stonewall Inn during the 1969 uprising, threw the first brick to fight back against arrests, young skeptics today know that Johnson had said he was a boy (who did drag) and that he wasn’t even at the bar during the uprising, throwing that first brick. 

Allegedly, a black lesbian woman named Stormé DeLarverie actually started the riot, but because some in the lesbian community don’t agree with transgenderism, their community gets iced out. For instance, U.K.-based advocacy group formed two decades after the uprising that bears the same name as the inn, Stonewall, showed its true colors by branding lesbians “sexual racists” for not wanting to have sex with biological men who identify as transgender women.

The LGBT community lost the plot and, frankly, its pulse on reality. It took “Pride” down along with it after the “T” was widely accepted into the acronym. 

Is This Even About Acceptance Anymore?

Where activists were once campaigning for social rights – the gay community trying to show straight people that they’re just like everyone else, that they want to be able to get married and start a family – they’re now welcoming of all manner of fetishes and proudly touting their degeneracy in the streets for all to see.

“Keep Pride Nude” was the title of a 2021 article penned by Joseph J. Fischel, Yale University associate professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, for the Boston Review. In this op-ed, “gay for pay” Fischel bears no shame about his proclivity to expose kids to sexual acts in public and kink culture because, as he grotesquely explains it, exposure helps combat “racism and homophobia.” 

Whether or not homosexuality aligns with your own personal morals, I doubt that those morals also tell you that harmless gay and lesbian folk don’t deserve a safe, happy life if they’re not hurting anyone. Homosexuality is a fundamental deviation from biological norms (humans were built a certain way to produce offspring, after all), and it’s possible to recognize that without simultaneously robbing non-heterosexual people of their humanity.

But horny perverts and greedy corporations corrupted Pride. All that the wealthy CEOs care about is support from their shareholders and stakeholders, and in the process, they’ve tied themselves to overt fetish demonstrations in front of children. Politicians aren’t immune, either, as many on the Left clamor for the LGBT vote.

Some business owners and politicians likely don’t support how hypersexual Pride Month has become, but others appear not to care to quell the kink-fests. Again, many members of the group once known as the “gay community” aren’t thrilled by Pride’s tacky at best and twisted at worst reputation.

Poke around online, and you’ll find many gay people totally turned off by Pride Month. When one Reddit user wrote about being gay and not liking what Pride Month has now become, the user said they had been accused of having “internalized homophobia several times.”

“One ‘friend’ in particular told me that not going to pride spits in the face of the gay people who died for us,” the Reddit user wrote. “I don’t think I have internalized homophobia because I don’t see anything wrong with being gay, I just want to ‘celebrate’ an event nominally meant for people like me on my own terms, which is quietly.”

Gay or straight, Americans aren’t impressed with Pride Month. In a survey of 4,000 American adults, 2,079 of whom self-identified as either part of the “LGBTQA+” community or as an ally to it, 64% said that corporate Pride efforts are mostly performative and don’t indicate how committed they actually are to diversity, equity, or inclusion. Pride’s shiny object syndrome has worn off – even the “Free Palestine” movement appears to be over it!

So, if you’ve noticed that Pride-themed marketing content is shockingly sparse in your email inbox, you’re not going bonkers. Brands are understandably scared of Target-like backlash, so if they are “celebrating,” they’re opting for subtler allyship – like donating to LGBT charities – instead of inundating your senses with rainbow everything.

Closing Thoughts

Honestly, corporate silence (or hushed voices) is deafening. Companies know that if they virtue-signal too hard, people will hold them accountable for their very obvious greed. No brand wants its stocks to suffer, but many at the top are also too egotistical to admit that they’re blinded by dollar signs and disconnected from reality.

A “more subdued” Pride Month was long overdue, and it’s not just ticked-off conservatives celebrating this win. Good portions of the LGBT community weren’t amused by the rainbow-washing either. 

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