- Khushi Shah
Inclusivity beyond Pride Month
Historically, pride month, celebrated for the entirety of the month of June represents so much more than celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community. It marks the stonewall uprising, perhaps the most well-known of the queer uprising in the face of police riots. And while the importance of Pride month has changed well over the years and has grown to be more accepted and celebrated everywhere, a glaring consequence we’ve been seeing in the past few years has been the blatant rainbow-washing by business conglomerates and corporations in order to appear more inclusive and cater to the increasing queer populations. The very companies who vehemently support anti-LBTQ legislators and organizations are the very ones who don’t shy away from rainbow coding their logos and selling pride merchandise.
In the 2020 American election cycle, AT&T topped the list of donations to far-right politicians with a whopping $1 million donated. Home Depot followed suit with about $700k donated. Repeated offenders Amazon and Walmart made news by donating about $500k and $400k donated. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Pride month is taken as an opportunity for these corporations to pander to the queer community for marketing relations and PR stunts only to turn back and press down on laws that give them political rights and freedom.
A similar trend is seen in academic spaces where institutions use statistics to show the strength of their non-white and marginalized bodies. While there has been an upward trend for opportunities for people of color and/or queer students in STEM, the condition currently can’t be called ideal because there is still a very apparent sign of privilege seen based on a person’s color, gender, sexual identity amongst other deciding factors which keep them from accessing particular opportunities. Women and gender minorities perhaps suffer the most and although student demographics changed to have more people of color, the racial makeup of professors and instructors remains the same at many institutions: predominately white.
What comes now is the need to ask- how can we put a full stop to performative diversity practices and establish a real, necessary change in academic spaces and how should we go about it? We hope to address this in our new series, which will focus on Inclusive behavior and its many facets in STEM and the LGBTQ community as a whole.