Pride month | 

Corporate Pride backers must earn their stripes...

It takes more than a rainbow flag to support LGBTQ+
Rainbow-themed Make America Great Again hat

Rainbow-themed Make America Great Again hat

Deirdre Reynolds

It's Pride Month - and that can only mean one thing.

It's time to crack open a bottle of Bud Light Pride and a bag of Doritos Rainbows and celebrate diversity.

Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Gucci and Nike are just some of the corporate giants currently flying the flag for the LGBTQ+ community worldwide.

And, with everything from Pride-branded socks to strap-ons now available to mark the month, there's definitely a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Created by Gilbert Baker for San Francisco Pride in 1978, the original eight-stripe flag represents: the sun, life, healing, nature, art, harmony and spirit.

Although an explainer for the hot pink 'sex' stripe was curiously left off a special Listerine mouthwash once memorably launched to promote post- brushing pride.

Marks & Spencer's LGBT sandwich

Marks & Spencer's LGBT sandwich

Marks & Spencer's LGBT sandwich - that's lettuce, guacamole, bacon and tomato, obviously - counts among the other most cringeworthy cases of rainbow capitalism.

Adidas also scored an own goal after adding a 'Pride Pack' section to its website - at the same time sponsoring the World Cup in Russia, a country not exactly famed for being gay-friendly.

But nothing caps the rainbow-themed Make America Great Again hat, sold for $35 while former US President Donald Trump actively bid to deny transgender people access to homeless shelters and bar transgender troops from serving in the military.

Absolutely, 28 years after homosexuality was decriminalised and six years on from marriage equality, it would make your heart burst with pride to see our little country swimming in rainbows this summer.

Sligo festival Wild Roots poster

Sligo festival Wild Roots poster

But throwing the odd wine bottle into the glass recycling doesn't make me Greta Thunberg any more than slapping a rainbow on its logo four weeks of the year makes a business an ally.

Sligo festival Wild Roots, for one, had some explaining to do this week after removing the pride colours from its online poster just days after labelling itself LGBTQ+-friendly amid a row over "pink-washing".

The music spectacular - which is being headlined by the decidedly straight James Morrison and the Kaiser Chiefs when it takes place from 13-15 August - was accused by followers of "blocking LGBT people who questioned" the rebrand, then "backpedalling" by announcing details of an LGBTQ+ stage, with some even calling for a boycott of the festival.

Responding to the spat in the comments section, a spokesperson wrote: "We took down this post because there was so much negative comments along with some pretty vulgar ones.

"We put the Pride flag on our poster to show support for Pride Month."

Here's hoping the Hazelwood festival does turn out to be a shining example of inclusivity - not to mention a pile of fun for ticketholders after 15 months cooped up at home.

Edited Sligo festival Wild Roots

Edited Sligo festival Wild Roots

However, it's important that the pendulum isn't allowed swing so far in the other direction that the original symbol of gay rights activism becomes nothing more than a fashion accessory.

With the range of Pride flags now including trans, lesbian, pansexual and straight ally, among others, the global commemoration of the Stonewall Riots of 1969 has never been more inclusive. But the arrest of a man in his 40s in connection with the burning of Pride flags in Waterford this week shows how the community still needs support that goes beyond rainbow latte art and multi-coloured cupcakes.

Fair play to the people and companies digging deep to support LGBTQ+ causes this month.

When the flags come down and swag is boxed away for another year, however, true friends are the ones who are still there, somewhere over the rainbow, on the other 335 days of the year.

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