Spending my Queer Dollars with Intention

I’m a consumer of convenience. Buying from corporate brands that don’t always align with my principles, brands that don’t support the queer community.

Spending My Queer Dollars With Intention.

Hey there. Laura Leigh here. I’m a wife, writer, mama, small business owner, and a lover of queer young adult fiction–hey, I deserve these stories. They were not readily available when I was young!

I’m also guilty of being a consumer of convenience. You know what I’m talking about? It’s finding a way to be lazy, but also get in some retail therapy. It’s buying from corporate brands that don’t always align with my principles, brands that don’t truly support or value the queer community.

Me, my wife, and our kids have all worn Pride tees from corporations like these. We give them our money because they set up a colorful little corner of the store at the start of each summer, and some of us get sucked in by rainbow sports bras and pink tees that say Live, Laugh, Lesbian. Any sign of backlash and these retailers pull the plug on their pride collections. Why? Because they only support LGBTQIA+ people when it benefits them. It’s all about their bottom line, not about uplifting queer creators and our community at large.

Yeah sure, this is better than two decades ago, when my options for pride apparel were severely limited. And for me, especially since I became a mom, seeing Pride become mainstream has its benefits. My kids don’t feel like outsiders. They get to see queer joy and celebration as normal. Visibility matters. But what if we could rock the cute family tees without sacrificing our belief in the power and strength of the queer community?

In the last decade, as big box stores and corporate retailers have introduced pride collections, I’ve appreciated the ease with which I could grab some rainbow leggings for my toddler and a pride tank for myself. Sometimes these retailers even partner with real live queer designers and brands. Old Navy started selling pride tees in 2011, and were the first major chain to do so. I remember walking through the Old Navy in New York’s Flatiron District and practically twirling around, thinking “Where am I?!” Ten percent of their pride profits went to the It Gets Better Project. Target introduced pride collections over ten years ago. In 2023 Walmart partnered with New York based Gay Pride Apparel. Visibility is great, but what happens when June ends? Where is the support then? And don’t get me started on how these brands react when there’s backlash. They pull pride collections from their retail locations, signaling a lack of support for their LGBTQIA+ employees and customers.

I love when corporate brands notice that we exist. I love it even more when they donate some of their profits to LGBTQIA+ causes. But we know the truth – we only matter to them when it’s profitable.

As I get older and I am better able to align my lifestyle with my values, I find myself going out of my way to support local businesses and queer creators. Small batch anything made by BIPOC women? I’m in. Pink Robin makes this easy for me. No excuses. I can peruse affordable jewelry from a queer and Filipino-owned business, add another tote bag to my growing collection from a designer craving nuance and subtlety for gay people who know that “it isn’t all rainbows and unicorns,” and shop customized swimsuits made by a “Trans, Non-Binary and Queer person who cares deeply about the needs of their community.” No middle man, no corporate greed. Just using my spending power to support my beloved LGBTQIA+ community.

Did you know that according to research by LGBT Capital, the global annual spending power of queer consumers in 2022 was estimated at US$4.7 trillion. I didn’t either, and I love it. Let’s spend those dollars on merchandise and services made for us, by us, whenever possible. That’s why I’m grateful that Pink Robin exists, and thrilled to be a member of the team.

Cheers queers. Happy spending.

Hey there. Laura Leigh here. I’m a wife, writer, mama, small business owner, podcast host, and the Head of Content here at Pink Robin.

I love supporting the queer community and bringing shared experiences to life.

If you have a story to tell, I’m here for it.

lauraleigh@pinkrobinshop.com

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