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Finding Pride in LGBTQ Small Business

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Photo courtesy of Rose Gold Co
Photo courtesy of Rose Gold Co

It's that time of year again! The lilacs are blooming, the jorts are coming out of the closet, and so are all of America's biggest corporations!

That's right, we're just weeks away from Pride month, and all of a sudden, every Hot Topic, Target, and even Walmart is putting out its Pride wear!

It's a drastic flip for many corporations, such as Walmart, which has had close ties to the American Family Association, a large anti-Gay group; and Target, which donated up to $150,000 to a political action group known as Minnesota Forward, which supported several homophobic politicians in the Midwest.

So how do you symbolically support Pride with a festive T-shirt or shoes without financially backing massive homophobes? The answer: shop small! There are many amazing small businesses to choose from when deciding where to spend your life savings on fantastic Pride apparel. If you're thinking of making a day out of shopping, start with Panache, an LGBTQ-friendly store on Broadway run by members of the community. Customers have boasted about the great deals and amazing quality of the items they've discovered at the boutique, and the friendly staff are willing to offer plenty of hands-on help and style advice. If your wardrobe is aching for some fresh summer vibes, look no further.

If the pandemic still has you apprehensive about in-person shopping, though, don't worry! There are plenty of small businesses online that contribute to the LGBTQ community.

Looking for clever T-shirts or dope shoes? Rose Gold Co. [www.rosegoldco.shop] has it all. It is also a Lesbian- and Black-owned business that "strive[s] to represent those who are often overlooked in the community. Gender Queer, Pansexuals, Transgender Men and Women, Ace, Bisexuals, Lesbians, Gays, Queers, Non-Binary, Intersex, etc...." The site offers a wide variety of apparel at affordable prices, with T-shirts starting at just $12 and sweatshirts at $24. It also offers an adorable selection of jewelry, all at under $10.

Not only does Rose Gold Co. have affordable and adorable apparel, but as of this week, it has donated over $10,000 to programs that support the LGBTQ community.

If trendy Pride wear is what you're looking for but you're also environmentally conscious, then check out Not Sorry Goods [notsorrygoods.com]. Based in Detroit, this is a Black- and Latinx-owned business with a focus on sustainability. It offers a variety of Pride flags made out of recycled materials, a cute black denim jacket with rainbow cursive writing on the back advocating for recycling, and perhaps best of all, a long-sleeved black crop top with the words "Queer Not Sorry" embrodered above the heart. The items at Not Sorry Goods are a bit more spendy than those at other online and local stores, but they're worth it for the good quality and recycled materials.

If Etsy is more your taste, take a moment to check out designer Meg Emiko [www.etsy.com/shop/megemiko]. Emiko is a nonbinary teen who created their own line of super trendy shirts, crewnecks, and stickers. Not only does Emiko have some beautiful designs, including a shirt with the Trans flag that says "protect trans kids," they also have a wonderful selection of swag for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Other popular styles on Emiko's page include pronoun shirts, to reduce the chances of awkward mixups while looking cool and feeling comfortable.

As we prepare for Pride month, it is important to be conscious of where our money goes. Large corporations are quick to capitalize on rainbow colors and cheesy slogans, but small businesses, especially BIPOC-run ones, use your money to make a difference for their own communities, and the greater LGBTQ community.

Also, their clothes are just really cool.