Editorial | Rainbow capitalism is insincere and performative, but this year is arguably worse


Nate Yonamine | Senior Staff Photographer

The 2023 Pittsburgh Pride Parade on the Andy Warhol Bridge on June 3.

Earlier this month, the official Xbox Twitter account was sporting an intricate profile picture supporting this year’s pride month. The picture was the typical spherical “X” logo gamers have come to recognize as the videogame mega-console, but made up of numerous pride flags supporting the LGBTQ+ community. However, in an odd and poetically humorous act mere days into June, Xbox’s Twitter switched their picture to feature a fiery, hell-like logo to support their new game Diablo 4. While the implication that “gays burn in hell” is subtle and unintentional, Xbox’s switch to flames is only one example as to how this year’s Pride Month is significantly less colorful and supportive than it has been in previous years.

Typically, the month of June is inundated with rainbows and bright fun colors to show support to the LGBTQ+ community. It is a time where brands put out their pride collections, support LGBTQ+ charities and switch their branding and marketing to feature rainbows and pride flags. Many believe “rainbow capitalism” to be insincere or performative due to the immediate removal of the colorful logos and products as soon as July 1 hits, along with the further absence of meaningful political lobbying and support of LGBTQ+ nonprofits year round. But at least the companies are feigning support, showing the LGBTQ+ community that it is appreciated and valued during one part of the year.

But the air is different in 2023. Pride flags are being stowed away, and brands are lacking their usual rainbow-ified twitter profile pictures. Target, a company known notoriously to have the most cringey — or camp — pride collections each year has quietly moved or even completely removed their Pride collection from select stores due to threats made to employees. Other companies that had previously supported the LGBTQ+ community in the past as soon as the first of the month hit have also been eerily silent due to backlash. While businesses need to keep their employees safe, their silence still speaks incredibly loud. Small businesses run by those who are LGBTQ+ are also facing extremely low profits and a lack of support, especially because many rely on the promotion of their businesses during Pride Month to keep their businesses afloat.

To many this shows that there is a lack of genuine support and allyship presented by these brands. If companies are so willing to disregard their usual support due to the vile beliefs and threats of a small minority, it means they never truly cared in the first place. The lack of rainbow capitalism, while performative, at least stood up against the homophobic minority.

Over 70% of Americans support same-sex relationships and marriage in this country. That’s nearly 3/4 of the population — meaning that these companies are succumbing to a mere fraction of those that actually shop at their stores. If the lack of support from brands and the absence of rainbow capitalism is frustrating you or getting you down, remember that most people are in support of the LGBTQ+ community, and it’s just that the minority is incredibly loud.