I guess the best way to start off this blog post is to define the term allyship and it’s importance to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Why? Because amid a very busy Pride month I have born witness to a lot of performative allyship / marketing, extreme levels of hate towards our community, and have even had brand partners ask me to “tone it down” to avoid controversary. And this year I even received death threats in the comments section on multiple social media posts.
So yeah, I think it’s important that we talk about this a little more.
Being an ally means:
- supporting equal rights for everyone – regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender or religion
- doing what you can to call out discrimination and to fight for equality
- trying to make the world a better place for anyone who identifies as LGBTQIA+.
Learn about issues that are important to the community
Talk to people who identify as LGBTQIA+, read books and other publications, listen to podcasts, and visit businesses or websites run by people from the community. Immerse yourself in their world as much as you can, and get a sense of what it’s like to live in their shoes.
Be visible and support the community as much as you can
This means going to rallies and events, calling out homophobia, transphobia or queerphobia wherever you see it, and supporting businesses, charities or other initiatives owned or operated by LGBTQIA+ people.
So why am I bringing this up? Because I think it’s important for me to realize as a proud queer content creator when brands are in fact actual allies, and not just looking to rainbow wash their logos and products for a month to make some money.
I have been working with Levi’s Canada for ten years – basically since launching the blog actually – and have always been so incredibly moved by their level of commitment to inclusivity and diversity not just for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, but for all marginalized groups.
Each year, on a global scale, they release a Pride collection that is not only SPECTACULAR, but also gives back in a way that shows they stand behind the message of amplification, empowerment, support (yes even in light of being controversial) and giving back. They not only make space, but they keep it for us all year long. So, let’s talk about the 2023 Pride collection and why I am so f*cking proud to be rocking pieces from it during the big Pride Toronto weekend!
“The Levi’s® Pride 2023 campaign is a global celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community and its powerful history of genuine self-expression, ” said Lance Relicke, Vice President of Global Brand Experience at Levi Strauss & Co. “From clubs to protests to Pride parades, wherever people gather in the name of love and inclusivity, so many of them will proudly show up in their Levi’s® and 501® jeans. There’s so much genuine love for the Levi’s® brand in the LGBTQIA+ community and we’re thrilled to reciprocate that love – all of the time, but especially during Pride 2023.”
As an extension of its support for the LGBTQIA+ community, the Levi’s® brand is also making an annual $100,000 USD donation to Outright International, a global organization working to advance human rights for LGBTQIA+ people all over the world.
The Levi’s® Pride 2023 collection will be available for purchase on Levi.com and in selected Levi’s® Stores.
A line of T-shirts, denim and accessories with a call you can’t ignore: Respect all pronouns. Because to use someone’s pronouns is to see how they move through the world.
I cannot stress this enough. Moving forward, as we see major sports leagues pull out of Pride shirts and logos, major stores lauching and pulling entire “Pride collections” and people rainbow washing for a quick buck, I will be supporting brands and people who ACTUALLY support me. Periodt.
SO let’s end this bit of a rant / love letter blog post on a fabulous note. Pride is a time to celebrate the beauty of all. And while it may inspire some noise by those who are afraid of its beauty, I promise you that our light and our ability to shine is stronger than any comment, faceless social media profile or slur on the street. Keep your head high my fabulous he, she, they and hey gurl heys of the world. Because we’ve been around for an eternity and we’re not going anywhere any time soon.
I love you all so much – Happy Pride!
I hope you enjoyed reading and that if you’re not already, follow me on all platforms at @dothedaniel
Photos: RBCxMusic, Daniel Reyes Cocka and participating brands
Don’t forget to be kind & laugh a little more this year
*Please note that this may be a sponsored post and promotional consideration may have been offered by participating brands – our disclosure can be found at all times by clicking here.