“To survive, men and business and corporations must serve.” — John Henry Patterson

Gay PrideA few weeks ago, Moorea wrote a post called Corporate America Loves Queers!? that talks about how her local Gay Pride has become decidedly more corporate. She explained that there is a history of how Pride got to be so corporate in every big city and cites an article in Fortune magazine by Marc Gunther called Queer Inc: How Corporate America fell in love with gays and lesbians.

Last year, Madame X at My Open Wallet wrote a post with the clever title: Corporate Sponsorship… not that there’s anything wrong with that. She gives her own views on Gay Pride and the purchasing power of the queer community.

Queers and money… this is always a topic to be loved at Queercents which is why Steve Kauffman’s post at the Out Front Blog caught my eye this week. I’m a fan of Steve and his colleagues and the work they do with regards to corporate communications.

Steve reported on the Gay Games in a post called: It’s not just a game anymore. He writes, “What may be only a blip on media radar this week is actually a monumental mark in gay and lesbian history — at least as far as gay and lesbian sporting events and the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) are concerned. Yesterday, Chicago Games Inc. announced that the 2006 Gay Games financially had broken even.”

According to CBS2 in Chicago, the 2006 Gay Games were deemed a success because the “Business model differentiated itself by dramatically increasing corporate partnerships, relying significantly upon volunteer professionals and pro bono services, establishing a sponsored worldwide marketing and media campaign, and outsourcing non-core elements to third parties.”

Steve concludes, “This has been a win-win for Chicago, for the Gay Games and for corporate sponsorships of LGBT events in the future.”

Moorea certainly doesn’t feel that way about her local gay events. She writes, “But while I was marching last year and taking advantage of corporate sponsorship, most of my younger friends were not. They were having their own anti-corporate separate parade in the old neighborhood, lots of independent performance artists scheming for a better world.”

“I definitely felt torn as I realized that the corporate sponsors could be putting their money toward the legal battle for human rights and gay marriage. Instead, they had a captive audience for their ad campaigns in exchange for paying for the loads of Mardi Gras beads that ended up in our waste baskets.”

Rick MacPherson responded by writing, “As a transplant in my now adopted ‘home’ of San Francisco, I get to see the full-on roar of commercial queer-washing every pride… I mean one look at the several hundred page official ‘pride guide’ (a tome that could both stun an ox and give editors at vogue cold sweats for product placement and advertising dollars) reveals page after page of corporate ‘sponsorship”‘… but this is nothing new… as a young(er) queer in Portland, Maine, it was clear that corporate America was eager to draw in a new market segment… bling tossed from floats along with coupons… the Coors float… the airline float… etc, etc…”

“Has this commodity buy-in brought us any appreciable uptick in acceptance… I’d say it can be argued persuasively in either direction… but it has certainly solidified our consumer queer culture.”

Bottom line: Queers spend money! And according to Suzanne Rush, we’re going to Save the U.S. Economy!