What does counter-culture mean to you?
What does counter-culture mean to you? What first comes to mind when you hear the word? Is it a belief you feel deep in your bones? A movement you’re gladly a part of? Or a favourite article of clothing you call your own?
In honour of it once again being Pride month, we want to take a moment to talk about the importance of counter in our culture. While June being the official month for Pride is certainly a great thing, it’s hard to not still be cynical. That’s a step forward for sure, albeit a very small one.
It’s rather difficult to not be cynical about companies and corporations giving off the appearance of allegiance to the LGBTQIA2S+ community. Especially when many of them only do it for one month out of the year, just so they can look outwardly look good. Also known as “virtue signalling.”
Systemic bigotry has been an issue in many parts of the world for centuries. Being transphobic and homophobic has sadly been an issue for a very long time. This was often accepted as part of the mainstream culture. In many ways, this is sadly still an issue. To be accepting of the LGBTQIA2S+ community in the past in many ways, was considered its own form of counter-culture.
This is in many ways similar to cannabis, which was a large part of the counter-culture in the 1960s and 1970s. Cheech and Chong, as well as Easy Rider in particular were very popular films that showcased this on the big screen. Cannabis has often been viewed as an act of rebellion against the established order. As cannabis has become legalized in the last few years, it's become more mainstream and accepted.
Legalizing same-sex marriage in Canada has also been a huge step forward in terms of making those couples feel like they’re part of the regular culture. As they should be. But we need consistency.
If you’re a company that changes their logo to the Pride flag for one full month of June, but then the other eleven months of the year, you’re “back to normal”, then you’re not helping. At all. You’re giving off the impression that you’re an ally, without doing any of the real work to champion those that need it.
That needs to change.
We need to hold these companies accountable and to a higher-standard. The LGBTQIA2S+ community are not “different”, “other” or “counter-culture”. They are the culture.