Pride Month is upon us and with it, a plethora of rainbow-coloured stories from numerous brands voicing their support for the LGBTQIA+ community. As long proponents of LGBTQIA+ travel (and just in case you might have missed our coming-out party(ies), The Experientialist is proudly driven by a 100% LGBTQIA+ team), we’re all for it … so long as campaigns are authentic, empowering and give back to the community. Here are some that have caught our eye and got us dancing – and for some of us, even exercising – in our undies.
While at OutThere we’re all about uplifting and celebrating LGBTQIA+ voices throughout the entire 365 days of the year, we couldn’t let a few days of June go by without wishing you very Happy Pride Month. This annual recognition of the journey made by the LGBTQIA+ community coincides with the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising over 50 years back in 1969; and with that, the first recognised Pride march and protest in 1970. And in true OutThere fashion, this defining moment has transformed into a month-long celebration of diversity, continued political activism and jubilation.
In the spirit of celebrating community milestones, Calvin Klein‘s Pride Month campaign is all about defining moments in the queer and trans* journey. Kicking off last year – incidentally, a year when many other brands pulled their Pride campaigns because of the pandemic – Calvin Klein’s enduring (and endearing) #proudinmycalvins movement revisits the transformative events that shaped the lives of creative talent from a diverse timeline, in different parts of the world.
Calvin Klein worked with a set of photographic and videography talent including Gorka Postigo Breedveld, Matt Lamb, Ryan McGinley, Campbell Addy, Collier Schorr and Vivi Bacco. We liked that the inclusive set of creatives were tasked to capture a cast of equally diverse members of the LGBTQIA+ community – including Arca, Honey Dijon, Isaac Cole Powell, Kai Isaish Jamal, King Princess, Raisa Flowers, Samuel de Saboia and Omar Ayuso. The result is a powerful portfolio of short films that document their emotional stories and life experiences.
We do feel that the campaign does still play into the community’s obsession with youth – and in our opinion could have done a little more to include more colours of the rainbow particularly those from marginalised Asian and Pacific Islander backgrounds – but still, we applaud its focus on body positivity and impactful inclusion of the trans* and gender non-binary community, as well as ensuring the inclusion of Afro-Caribbean and LatinX people.
As to giving back, Calvin Klein partners with multiple non-profit organisations in support of LGBTQIA+ advocacy, equality, and safety … news being its two-year partnership with The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organisation for LGBTQIA+ young people. And of course, there are purchasable products from Calvin Klein’s limited-edition Pride collection that adds to the fund.
Peloton – the wellbeing brand that went from “in the know” to household name in the pandemic – also celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community this Pride month, both on and off their rapidly growing digital platform. Their message is centred around individuality and pride in your own space. Alongside highlighting LGBTQIA+ empowerment and creativity with pride-themed workouts and their Artist series (that include musical moments featuring icons and rising stars within the community), Peloton has released a Pride-themed apparel collection featuring (you guessed it) rainbow-themed, tie-dyed, apparel … inspired by the diversity of LGBTQIA+ identities and stories. We have it on good authority that the collection is unisex and genderfluid, however on Peloton’s website it is still split into gender binaries of male-female – hopefully, they’d consider blurring the boundaries in the future.
While the campaign seems to be very brand-driven, we’re encouraged that Peloton goes the distance to support the LGBTQIA+ community all year round, honouring a range of global initiatives that aid safety, mental health and wellbeing of LGBTQIA+ communities across the globe including London Friend in the UK, The Ali Forney Center in the US, The 519 in Canada and GLADT in Germany.
As we travel the world (or avoid a chatty seat neighbour on the plane), we’re usually hooked up to tunes on Spotify. For Pride Month, the music streaming app is encouraging the queer community to “Claim Your Space” with a series of month-long activations, including a Pride hub, collaborating with fabulous LGBTQIA+ creators, venues and cultural innovators; plus the launch of a new flagship playlist to amplify LGBTQIA+ voices all year round. Spotify is also championing their Pride Singles programme that they launched last Pride Month and is working with queer artists Dua Saleh and Lido Pimienta to create a new set of Pride original recorded singles that will drop later in the month.
OutThere music aficionados can expect queer household names like Glitterbox, Big Dyke Energy, Horse Meat Disco but also trailblazing ones that have been historically underrepresented, including Pxssy Palace, Homoelectric and Punka.
We like that the whole thrust of this all-year-round campaign is to amplify and support queer creators and venues, in a considered and respectful way – understanding that queer spaces also exist beyond the world’s capital cities. The hope is to permanently create more space for queer representation in the music industry and wider culture in general, making the LGBTQIA+ experience part of the mainstream. Bravo.