The Big Pink Conundrum


Ok, now I’ve done it. This Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year and now I’m a mess and I don’t know what to do. Someone remind me – am I eating locally or am I buying for equality? Do I support my local farmer who may not approve of my "lifestyle" or do I support big businesses that have a record of equality for my fellow gay/lesbian/transgendered/bisexual/questioning brothers and sisters?

The source of my confusion? This year the Human Rights Campaign, a bipartisan organization that works to advance equality for all based on sexual orientation and gender expression, has released a guide titled "Buying For Equality: A Guide To Companies And Products That Support Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual And Transgender Equality".
The guide attempts to rate a whole slew of companies based on their record of equality towards gays and lesbians. It’s a valuable resource and has let me know that I should buy my khakis at Banana Republic and not L.L. Bean, to fill my tank with fuel from Shell and not Exxon, and to reach for Tylenol and not Bayer when the statistics begin to give me a headache.

And lest you think this is silly, consider this: In 2005, the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender market was estimated to yield $610 billion worth of buying power. I don’t know about you, but I’m PROUD to be part of a group with so much disposable income! White parties, circuit parties, dinner parties, cocktail parties, fancy electronics and wine tasting with friends in Napa are what we do best, and when a business doesn’t want us we’ll definitely make it known. It’s how we roll.


Ok ok, so that’s all fine and dandy (dandy, get it?) but back to the food. Herein lies my dilemma: Do I support the food conglomerates that support me based on the HRC guide even though it goes against eating locally? Is it ok to forfeit fresh, locally grown peas in favor of frozen, political peas that support my rights? Or do I only eat foods grown within a 50-mile radius by farmers who maintain floats in our annual Pride Parades? And if so, are the farmers cute? I mean, like rugged, smooth chested growers in overalls from a Bruce Weber book or downhome, homely Jed Clampett types? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just, well, I don’t particularly need to see that dancing in white wings to a Deborah Cox remix. And is there a group or website out there for gay foodie bloggers who eat locally but also want to support their cause? And what if some are vegan womyn? Do we need another logo for that?

I’m throwing in the pink towel, grabbing a cocktail, cranking up some Jennifer Holliday and putting my pink dollars where they should be.

Just as soon as I figure out where.


  1. Deborah Cox says

    You need support the only industry that supports everyone equally–music! Giving the gift of music (namely MY CD’s available at Perfect Beat) transcends all moral conundrums for music is truly the gift of the soul. Thanks for the nod Matt, and remember to stuff my CDs into the stockings off everyone you know this December! xo xo xo DEB

  2. Deborah Cox says

    uhhh…errr…that should read “the stockings OF everyone..” Sometimes my Lee Press-ons get in the way of my keyboarding.

  3. says

    My decision-making process is easy: I simply find the cutest fish boys and patronize the hell out of them. (Of course, I only buy the wild or organic fish from them.) But I can’t tell if they’re wearing skinny jeans under those rubber aprons or not.

    When you come visit, we can certainly check.

  4. Brian says

    I checked out the HRC guide and didn’t realize that Bristol Farms was owned by Supervalue, the same parent company as Jewel-Osco and Albertson’s. I thought they were still very authentic.

    Good marketing, Matt.

  5. says

    Brian, indeed. It’s a recent acquisition.

    What surprises me is that Starbuck’s wasn’t rated as high as other companies, and I really thought they were more GLBT friendly.

  6. says

    Hmm… not being a member of the group, I couldn’t say how I’d feel about a company being against my lifestyle (although there once upon a time was a lawyer I knew who was openly gay, and active about his rights- well, I think he was anyway because he was part of LEGAL [Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association], and he mentioned how he was going to vote for Bush… and I was just kind of like… how do you vote for someone who hates you, doesn’t even know you, and hates you for something as personal and none of their business as your sexuality?! but anyway…), but as a member of a minority group, I don’t think I would look at a guide like that to make my buying choices. Like if a company were openly against my group, sure I’d have a problem with it (as lots of people would) and it’d be on the news and stuff. But I don’t think I’d do the research to find out if a company was or wasn’t against/for my race. Does that make sense? Like I’ve been ordering from FreshDirect for ages, and love their customer service, have no problems with them etc. and just overall like them. If someone told me there was a book out there or a website that explored how racist they are (they DO have something called Chinese garlic on their site, which I can’t figure out because other sites tell me that Chinese garlic is large but theirs is pretty small)- well, I don’t think I’d stop ordering from them because I haven’t experienced those problems myself. And I’d never do research into a company to see if they’re racist before buying their products… does that make sense? If not… ignore me. I’m really out of it.

  7. says

    Don’t forget: eating sushi replenishes the coffers in Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church! Don’t take my word for it: read The Chicago Tribune. <– goes to the Trib story I will have more to say about your question later, maybe tomorrow.

  8. Jyl says

    Hmmm, my first question is how do you know that the locals are against your lifestyle? They may not support the lifestyle globally with gobs of money…but being local they probably don’t have gobs of money to support with. And besides, I would just do what made ME happy. Personally, I think fresh peas would make me happier than frozen but that is a personal opinion.

  9. says

    womyn?! oh you *didn’t*! [smirk]

    I used to work at a farmer’s market run mainly by very fundementalist-type Christians. At first they quietly watched me sell my soaps and didn’t say much. A few thought my ex and I were guys (crewcut…oops!). Less than a month later, we were part of the gang. Invited for Thanksgiving even.

    I tell the story to say…give those who don’t appear to support us some business too. Sometimes it’s all it takes to get a conversation going and humanize the whole deal.

  10. JD says

    Matt, thanks for the information about buying for equality. It’s very positive to hear about companies who supports for equality.


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