The rainbow flag has long been a symbol of the pursuit of equality for the LGBTQ community. But for some, seeing the same symbol being used to sell vodka or novelty items crosses a line into exploitation.
This is the issue some local students are hoping to address at a VCU Office of Multicultural Student Affairs event being held this Thursday at the student commons.
VCU Queer Action organizer Lorin Hoisington is spearheading the conversation which is set to take place Thursday afternoon on campus.
“I believe it is a topic that is rarely discussed and, having a background in sociology, (it’s) something I find interesting to investigate,” said Hoisington in an email.
Hoisington and the folks at VCU Queer Action have held a number of movie screenings and events around the representation of LGBTQs in the media, but she hopes this look at how sexual minorities are commodified might provide some insight into where the community is going.
But she’s quick to clarify the event doesn’t aim to demonize brands working with the LGBTQ community in an economic sense.
“I hope people will come away with a new look on the relationship and influence of mainstream society and its impact on the queer community,” she said. “This conversation is not intended to make people feel bad about their consumption of products or media preferences, but to instead be able to recognize and understand some of the problematic implications and consequences of assimilation and commodification of the queer community in mainstream society.”
The event will involve a number of videos and a group discussion with the hope of understanding how these marketing strategies can have both positive and negative impacts in the LGBTQ movement.
The event happens 1-3 PM at the Metro room of the VCU Student Commons. Non-students are welcome to attend, allys are welcome but asked not to dominate conversation.