13 Brands Supporting The LGBTQI+ Community In A Meaningful Way During Pride

Pride Month is finally here! It's time to celebrate all the amazing LGBTQIA+ people in our lives, and all our LGBTQIA+ elders and ancestors who fought and died to get us the rights we have today. But Pride Month also means that businesses around the country are engaging in performative activism by releasing rainbow-colored Pride products and carefully crafted press releases about their support for the queer community. This hollow display is so pervasive, it has its own name: "rainbow-washing."


In an article for Harvard Business Review, diversity equity and inclusion consultant Lily Zheng analyzed the rainbow-washing phenomenon — also called "rainbow capitalism" — and how it actually hurts businesses rather than helping them. Why? Because LGBTQIA+ people see that their so-called support is a marketing tactic, not true allyship. This is especially clear in 2023, when brands that have previously been all rainbows for past Prides have suddenly pulled their Pride merchandise because of conservative threats. We see you, Target.

But not every brand's support of the LGBTQIA+ community is rainbow-washing. There are a few out there that support the queer community in meaningful ways year round.



It usually goes without saying that queer-owned businesses have a meaningful impact on the queer community every day. However, Flavnt, a streetwear brand founded by queer twins, deserves special recognition for the direct support it provides to trans people in the community. While many companies make large donations to organizations that support LGBTQIA+ folks, Flavnt decided to cut out the go-between and give a portion of its profits directly to trans folks in need.


Several years ago, Flavnt started its partnership program with the goal of helping trans people access gender-affirming surgeries. Over the years, this helped 14 individuals raise the money they needed through direct donations and community fundraisers. In 2022, Flavnt chose to shift its support model a bit. Flavnt no longer partners directly with individuals, but the brand does regularly donate to trans people's surgery fundraisers. It also allocates more of its funds to donations for queer-led aid organizations.


Gay bars have long been places where LGBTQIA+ folks can gather safely, build community, and express joy. Absolut — yes, the vodka brand — was one of the first brands to openly market to the queer community.


The brand's first ad in The Advocate ran in 1981, and it was not subtle. As The Los Angeles Blade points out, explicitly marketing to the LGBTQIA+ community in the 1980s was not seen as a shrewd business move. Stigma was widespread, and only increased when the AIDS epidemic began. But Absolut didn't shy away from the queer community like many other brands did — the brand just made its support even more explicit. Absolut ran full-page ads in as many queer publications as possible and hosted exclusive LGBTQIA+ events.

In the past 40-plus years, Absolut's loud support for the queer community has never faltered. In the late '80s and early '90s, Absolut partnered with the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and became the founding sponsor of the GLAAD Media Awards. In the 2000s, the brand became one of the first corporate sponsors of "RuPaul's Drag Race." The brand's latest project is "Out & Open," a campaign that raises awareness of struggling gay bars throughout the country. If all that isn't enough, there's this: Over the years, Absolut has donated over $40 million to organizations that provide direct support to the LGBTQIA+ community.



Levi's has been loud and proud about supporting the LGBTQIA+ community for several decades. Attitude Magazine notes that at the very beginning of the AIDS epidemic, Levi's employees handed out flyers for AIDS awareness outside the San Francisco headquarters, and were even joined by CEO Bob Haas. Haas' contributions to the LGBTQIA+ community in San Francisco have been so impactful that he was recently given the San Francisco Pride Freedom Award. In 1992, the iconic jeans brand became the first Fortune 500 company to offer company benefits to queer couples.


Levi's uses its considerable brand power to advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community in the courts as well. The company filed briefs with the California Supreme Court in support of marriage equality and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to oppose religious freedom legislation that would allow businesses to discriminate against LGBTQIA+ folks. The brand also puts its money behind its activism by giving hefty donations to organizations that provide direct support to queer folks and oppose anti-queer legislation around the country.

Levi's is an awesome example of what it looks like to use power and privilege to advocate for the queer community every day.

Dr. Martens

The Dr. Martens brand has wholeheartedly embraced its place in LGBTQIA+ fashion for nearly 50 years. There's literally a page on the brand's site outlining their history in the movement. It isn't only interested in the LGBTQIA+ community as a market segment, though: Dr. Martens has consistently contributed to the community in tangible ways. The Dr. Martens Foundation donates each year to organizations that provide direct services to LGBTQIA+ folks, especially trans folks. Each year, its Pride collection features art by queer and/or trans artists of color, and a portion of profits from the collection are donated to queer organizations.


Dr. Martens also uses its brand platform to advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights and educate people about the queer community. The brand's website is loaded with articles about the history of queer protests and queer community, as well as interviews with prominent voices. Dr. Marten's doesn't just support the community – it's basically part of it.

Ben & Jerry's

Ben & Jerry's, the Vermont-based maker of some of the best ice cream ever created, was founded on the principle that businesses have the power to make the world a better place. Activism and social justice have always been part of the Ben & Jerry's brand, and activism on behalf of the LGBTQIA+ community has always been a part of the company's mission.


Ben & Jerry's started offering company benefits to same-sex couples all the way back in 1989. Over the years, the brand has renamed some of their most popular flavors to show their support for marriage equality, transforming Chubby Hubby to Hubby Hubby and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough to I Dough, I Dough for a limited time. Ben & Jerry's has also put its brand name on multiple briefs in support of legislation to advance LGBTQIA+ rights, and partnered with the Human Rights Campaign and the National Center for Transgender Equality to support their work.

Most recently, Ben & Jerry's funded a billboard campaign in states that are trying to pass anti-trans legislation. In a press release, a representative for the brand said, "At a time when many politicians are criminalizing access to health care for trans youth — in addition to other efforts to marginalize them — we felt it important to make a public stand in support for them and their friends and families. We see them, we hear them, we stand with them."



Like many major corporations, Apple throws lots of money at LGBTQIA+ organizations during Pride Month. But the brand also donates an incredible amount of money to queer folks all year round. According to iMore, Apple donates to GLSEN, PFLAG, The Trevor Project, Gender Spectrum, The National Center for Transgender Equality, and ILGA World consistently and often.


Apple's support goes beyond the financial realm into legislation. The brand has put its massive name behind LGBTQIA+ rights in the workplace; recently, Apple teamed up with the Human Rights Campaign to oppose the anti-trans legislation being proposed and passed throughout the country.

It's also worth noting that Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, is one of the very few openly gay CEOs in the world. He's also been honored by GLSEN for his work for the LGBTQIA+ community. With him at the helm, queer-friendly policies prevail at Apple, which is recognized as one of the most LGBTQIA+ friendly workplaces in the country, according to the HRC's Corporate Equality Index.


Though Starbucks isn't always so progressive (like when its workers try to unionize or wear Black Lives Matter gear), the brand has always been on the right side of history when it comes to LGBTQIA+ rights. All the way back in 1988, the brand started offering company benefits to queer couples working either part or full time. In the early '90s, Starbucks expanded on those benefits to offer gap insurance coverage to former employees who couldn't work anymore, a move made specifically to support people with HIV/AIDS. In the mid-2000s, the company started a program to support trans employees and their partners who wanted to transition. Since then, they've expanded their coverage.


Starbucks also has a long history of supporting LGBTQIA+ rights in the courts. The brand filed briefs to support marriage equality when the Defense of Marriage Act was up for repeal and when the Supreme Court was considering passing marriage equality at a federal level. Starbucks has also put its name behind legislation to support LGBTQIA+ rights in the workplace. Moreover, Starbucks uses its considerable profits to support LGBTQIA+ organizations as well.


Lizzo has always been a queen to the LGBTQIA+ community and she does not take that for granted. In an interview with Gay Times, Lizzo said, "It means so much because the LGBTQ community has embraced me as one of their own. I felt like an 'other' for a very long time ... I was so confused about myself and my identity for a long, long time."


Though she's not officially one of us, Lizzo is a real ally every day, and her activism has only ramped up in 2023. Much of this comes through her shapewear brand, Yitty. Yitty launched a line of gender-affirming garments including chest binders and tucking panties. The most exciting part is that these garments will presumably go up to a size 6X, as the rest of Yitty's products do. It's really difficult for anyone over a size XL to find gender-affirming garments, so Yitty will give plus-size trans and nonbinary folks access they haven't had before.

Furthermore, Yitty just launched its Pride collection, and announced a partnership with the Los Angeles LGBT Center, which provides direct services to queer folks in the greater L.A. area.


American Eagle Outfitters

Like other brands, American Eagle and its sibling brand Aerie — both of which operate under the American Eagle Outfitters umbrella — go all out for Pride Month. But unlike many other brands, American Eagle Outfitters goes all out to support and celebrate queer folks 24/7, 365 days of the year.


The brand has partnered with the It Gets Better Project for years, raising literally millions of dollars for the organization's initiatives. The brand has also set up a loyalty program that provides ongoing contributions to the It Gets Better Project throughout the year. American Eagle Outfitters also helped the organization distribute grants directly to middle and high schools throughout the U.S., finding education and resources for LGBTQIA+ students in 40 different states. American Eagle Outfitters shows its support in its inventory and marketing as well. In 2021, the brand launched a Pride campaign centered around nonbinary and gender non-conforming folks.


Though many brands stick rainbows, trans flags, and quirkily queer designs on products during Pride month, only a few brands create full Pride collections that directly support queer folks. Vans is one of those brands. Each year, the brand partners with queer artists to design a Pride collection, and those artists are highlighted in all subsequent marketing campaigns. Vans' 2023 Pride collection features some truly amazing designs by Kae Tempest and Tyris Winter, for example.


Vans also uses its money to support LGBTQIA+ folks every day by partnering with the Tegan and Sara Foundation. This foundation was started by the iconic queer musicians to build community for queer kids throughout the country. It funds queer summer camps and distributes grants to organizations that provide direct support to LGBTQIA+ youth. Vans regularly donates to the Tegan and Sara Foundation, and even created a program where loyal customers can use their "Family Points" to donate to the organization directly.

The North Face

Pride Month has a way of revealing just how many brands have been on the rainbow-washing bandwagon. As Newsweek reported, major brands like Target and Bud Light pulled back their support for the LGBTQIA+ community after threats from conservatives. The North Face could have done the same when conservatives came after it for its Summer of Pride campaign, but instead, the brand doubled down. The campaign features Pattie Gonia, a queer drag queen who's massively popular on social media. This is actually the second year the brand has teamed up with Pattie Gonia, whose content focuses on wild outdoor activities. In addition to having a drag queen as the face of the line, The North Face's Pride collection also features children's clothing.


Though it faced attacks for this, the brand refused to back down. A spokesperson told Newsweek: "The North Face has always believed the outdoors should be a welcoming, equitable and safe place for all. We are honored and grateful to support partners like Pattie Gonia who help make this vision a reality." Though The North Face doesn't have a long history of supporting the LGBTQIA+ community, the brand's unwillingness to back down in the face of controversy shows that its support is more than rainbow capitalism.

Savage X Fenty

Rihanna has expressed consistent and vocal support for the LGBTQIA+ community. And she's not just talk: Savage X Fenty, her wildly popular and notably inclusive lingerie brand, releases a Pride collection every year with campaigns that feature queer models and influencers. The brand also partners with the Clara Lionel Foundation each year to distribute $100,000 to organizations that support the LGBTQIA+ community.


Though Savage X Fenty isn't doing as much as some of the other brands we've mentioned, the organizations it chooses to support are incredibly impactful. In 2023, for example, Savage X Fenty's donations are going to the Black Trans Femmes in the Arts (BTFA) Collective and the Hetrick-Martin Institute. The BTFA Collective provides artists with the funding and resources they need to create, display, and sell their art, putting money directly in the pockets of Black trans femmes. The Hetrick-Martin Institute provides access to health and wellness services, community, and housing for queer youth.


We stan any sustainable clean beauty brand, but we especially stan queer-owned, sustainable, clean beauty brands that support the LGBTQIA+ community. So, we obviously have to mention MALIN+GOETZ.

The brand was founded by partners (in every sense of the word) Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz, who were and are committed to making environmentally-friendly, gender-neutral skincare products. None of their products are separated into "for men" or "for women," which is rare in the beauty industry, and a statement of support for the LGBTQIA+ community in itself.


Speaking of statements, MALIN+GOETZ utilizes the platform it has cultivated to speak out on issues impacting the LGBTQIA+ community. In an interview with Glossy shortly after the controversy broke around Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill, both co-founders spoke out against the hateful legislation. Goetz remarked, "There could never be a celebration without activism, especially during the current zeitgeist. We can never take for granted the liberties we have fought so hard for; Matthew and I always remain very active and vigilant."

MALIN+GOETZ also spreads its money throughout the community on a regular basis. The brand donates to local LGBTQIA+ organizations throughout the year and has raised additional money during Pride Month each year for the last 18 years. Typically, this looks like donating half of its total profits for the month of June to LGBTQIA+ orgs.