- how sustainability and rainbows belong together -

A rainbow is a symbol for harmony, for holism and nature conservation, for hope. It symbolizes connection and a bridge between today and tomorrow, between you and me, between nature and people.
The rainbow is also widely used in the queer community as a symbol of sexual equality, free love and diversity. It is intended to remind us of a colorful society, of charity and tolerance. Just as a rainbow brings light and color to a grey world, so does diversity in society.

We need intercultural togetherness and spaces free from discrimination of any kind if we want to overcome the crises of today. We need to work together and stand up for each other instead of conspiring against each other.
If we want to row into a sustainable future, then we have to find a common rhythm, we have to be able to rely on each other and treat each other with respect.

Pride Month is an opportunity to further promote and demand equality - here the equality of the LGBTQIA+ community - in our society. It stands for tolerance and for pride. It opposes to stigmatization and exclusion. Only if we all act as a tolerant, social unit we can stand up to the challenges of this time, such as the climate crisis.

The fashion industry should also keep an eye out during Pride Month, as it is closely intertwined with the LGBTQIA+ community. Drag queens and kings are figureheads of the LGBTIQ movement and are represented at events of all kinds with their glamorous outfits. Drag is versatile, colourful, up-to-date. Drag is an art form intended to entertain but also to raise awareness of social issues. In addition, drag performers are fashion icons who constantly create new looks and present them on stages around the world. Drag attracts attention with its extravagance, eccentricity and bright colors. Thrift shops are browsed for the outfits and existing materials are transformed into something new by means of upcycling. Drag shows to the throwaway and fast-fashion society how things can be done differently and sets a good example.

The new SWR (television) documentary is recommended for anyone who would like to dive further into this subject: "Drags of Monnem - the queens of Mannheim without make-up" is a five-part documentary series that is available in the ARD media library since May 23, 2023. Here five drag queens and drag kings show their lives between glamorous masquerade and simple humanity.

History lesson: Where does the Pride Month come from?

In the late 1960s, New York City police regularly raided bars to track homosexuals and sue them for "obscene behavior." Afro-American minorities were particularly frequently targeted by abuse and police arbitrariness. When the Stonewall Inn was raided in the night of June 28, 1969, there was a violent confrontation between police officers, homosexuals and transsexuals, who no longer wanted to accept their discrimination. A demonstration of the LGBTQIA+ community on the streets of Manhattan followed the morning of June 28th. This famous protest, which began on Christopher Street, still owes its name to the annual demonstrations around Pride Month.

Christopher Street Day (CSD) is celebrated in many countries around the world. In addition to a parade, the street festivals often consist of political and cultural events, readings and parties.
A look at the media and statistics shows why we still need the CSD today. Even if a lot has already changed for the better, homosexuality is still a punishable offense in over 70 countries, in some of them it leads to death penalty. And in Germany too, groups are trying to reverse changes that have already taken place. Legal equality also does not protect against attacks and hatred. Statistics show that over 80 % of the LGBTQIA+ community in Germany has already experienced discrimination.

What can each of us do for more tolerance and visibility?

Many people don't share the privileges that cisgender persons have. Instead, they continue to fight for recognition, equality and equal rights every day.
It is therefore important that cisgender men and women become aware of their position and act as allies for the LGBTIQ community. These allies are also called "Allys".

How can we help?

  • We can listen & try to understand.
    Let's get in touch with the queer community and be open to things that are new to us.
  • We can learn.
    Knowledge is power. If there is anything we don't understand, we can inform ourselves or ask questions.
  • We can shed prejudices.
    Sometimes deadlocked assumptions turn out to be incorrect. Instead of dwelling on these assumptions, we can face the situation with interest and openness and give a chance to the unknown.
  • We can become active.
    If queer people are victims of discrimination, we can stand up for this minority and speak out loud.
  • We can provide more visibility
    ...by participating in the CSD or by sharing queer supporting content on social media.
  • We can support projects and organizations
    ... who stand up for LGBTQIA+ rights. With just a few search words you will find a number of regional, national and international groups that are committed to more recognition and diversity.

Last but not least: shout-out to these queer supporting companies!

Many companies deal with the topic of Pride Month and integrate components that draw attention to it. In particular, we would like to mention a few:

  1. She Said
    She Said is a queer feminist bookstore from Berlin that offers underrepresented (queer) authors a stage. In addition to the classic activity as a bookstore, She Said also offers a series of lectures and discussion rounds, which are intended to promote visibility in society.
    If you are in Berlin, you should definitely stop by and have a coffee in the integrated café: Kottbusser Damm 79, 10967 Berlin-Neukölln
    Alternatively, it is worth taking a look at the website: https://www.shesaid.de/

  2. Wildfang
    Wildfang is a fair fashion label from the US, which no longer promotes categories such as "men" and "women". Instead of shopping according to gender norms, you can shop in categories. Everyone should just wear what they feel comfortable with.
    We think: Hell yes!

  3. Fremdforma
    Fremdformat is a queer-owned jewelry label that designs sustainable accessories from recycled materials. The slogan of the brand based in Heidelberg is the name of the game: “Fair. Sustainable. Unisex.”
    Here you will find sustainable jewelry that is not only vegan and characterized by a zero waste approach, but is also size inclusive and gender free.

    Anyone looking at the website will also see directly that Fremdformat breaks with gender norms through the visual language used.

  4. BEARTH Clothing
    Our young company with a transparent ecologically and socially sustainable production and supply chain is committed to a queer-friendly and inclusive working environment with its inclusive corporate culture. In addition, BEARTH offers a variety of unisex clothing that can be styled independently of biological and social gender. On the occasion of Pride Month, there are various fashion basics with rainbows stitching that you can find in the shop. Click here to see more.


Author: Lea Marie