Understanding who your customers are is smart business.
Many Starbucks outlets are toning down Pride Month celebrations, according to several reports, though the coffee chain’s top executives deny it’s official policy.
Pixar’s film “Elemental,” which features Disney’s first nonbinary character, flopped over the weekend. Moviegoers “iced” it, says the Hollywood Reporter, producing the lowest opening weekend box-office take in modern Pixar history. Oops!
All this is happening during the most controversial Pride Month in years. Why the controversy? Pride is departing from its original, noble goal of combatting discrimination against gay and lesbian people.
Pride Month began in June 1969 as a civil rights movement. Demonstrators took to the streets to protest a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. A year later, marchers in Chicago turned out to mark the anniversary of the raid, and over time Gay Pride became a national movement.
The goal was to stop the shaming against gay and lesbian people, and promote tolerance and mutual respect. Those values are as American as apple pie, and everyone can celebrate them.
But aggressive activists and far-left politicians are turning some Pride events into hateful attacks.
On June 16, the Los Angeles Dodgers held a Pride Night pregame ceremony honoring the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a group of LGBTQIA+ activists, mostly men, who dress up in nuns’ habits. They ridicule the Catholic Faith, pole-dancing on a cross and mocking “Hunky Jesus” and “Foxy Mary.” Their motto is “Go forth and sin some more,” a takeoff on Jesus’ command to “go and sin no more.”
The Dodgers have been holding Pride Night for a decade, but this year’s veered off. Outside the stadium, Catholics and others prayed in protest.
Americans want to be tolerant, but they don’t want a minority ramming its beliefs down everyone else’s throats. David Leatherwood, a board member of nonprofit Gays Against Groomers, says many gays and lesbians disapprove of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and see the aggressive promotion of transgenderism as a threat to what Pride has achieved.
The Los Angeles Times reports that in this year’s Pride events, transgender and nonbinary personalities are front and center, unlike in the past.
A minuscule 0.6% of American adults identify as transgender, according to the Williams Institute. On the other hand, 70% of Americans identify as religious, according to Pew Research, including 64% Christian, as well as Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist. These faiths have codes of conduct that discourage flamboyant, sexual conduct in public.
Mock religion and your bottom line will take a hit. Axios reports that Anheuser-Busch, Target and Kohl’s suffered a cumulative $28 billion loss in stock value since April 1.
Anheuser-Busch, maker of top-selling Bud Light, engaged a transgender social media influencer, Dylan Mulvaney, to advertise its brand. Bud Light sales tumbled, and Modelo, a Mexican beer, catapulted to No. 1.
Kohl’s and Target featured LGBTQIA+-themed clothing in its kids’ departments, including a bathing suit made to fit “multiple body types and gender expressions.”
Customers — the silent majority — took their purchasing power elsewhere, and the companies’ stocks plummeted.
Politicians — especially elected school boards — take note.
At Saticoy Elementary School in Los Angeles, a mother of a 6-year-old protested a Pride assembly, saying it wasn’t appropriate for elementary school. She was fine with it for her middle school child.
West High School in Manchester, New Hampshire, created a firestorm by holding a Pride event, using thousands of dollars of American Rescue Plan Act funding to pay for Pride decorations and drag performers. “We should educate students in civic pride, not gay pride,” said Manchester resident Daniel Mowry, who identifies as a gay man.
In America, the majority rules — within limits. James Madison, architect of the U.S. Constitution, warned against the dangers of unrestrained majority rule. The Bill of Rights was added to protect minority rights — the original goal of Pride.
Presidents from Bill Clinton to Donald Trump to Joe Biden have recognized Pride Month. But for Pride to endure with the nation’s backing, the movement needs to return to its founding purpose and stop the attacks. Don’t let the extremists ruin Pride.
Tell Pride leaders that the U.S. will always stand up for minorities. But the silent majority, including people of faith, have rights, too.
Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths. Follow her on Twitter @Betsy_McCaughey. To find out more about Betsy McCaughey and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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