Pride in Pictures 2014: Who’s paying for Pride?

In this June 8, 2014, photo, workers carry a Macy's banner during the gay pride parade, in Salt Lake City. Corporations have increased visibility this summer at gay pride parades around the country as same-sex marriage bans fall in the courts and polls show greater public acceptance of gay marriage. Rick Bowmer, AP

The business of Pride is now big business.

From its humble start in 1970, with the Christopher Street commemorations a year after the Stonewall riots in 1969, Pride celebrations have grown. And grown. And grown.

Millions of participants and revelers are part of not just the parades, but the events, exhibitions and sporting events, as well as their spinoffs.

Related: Corporate sponsorships of LGBT pride parades on the rise

Running parallel with that growth is acceptance. At first, it was a few businesses, like bars, bookstores and baths catering to the community. As Pride built acceptance, though, it cast a wider net for sponsorships. It lobbied for support and acceptance, but it also lured business and corporations with our spending power.

How big is big? We’re talking big bucks. LGBT Capital, part of the U.K.’s Galileo Capital Management, estimated that 2016 global LGBTQ aggregated spending power was $3.5 trillion.

Not million. Not billion. $3.5 trillion.

A Financial Times Magazine story, in August 2016, reported that of the $2.4 million budget of that year’s NYC Pride, half of it came from corporate sponsorships.

Even smaller-town Prides are getting sponsorships, from local employers, local medical groups, even car dealers. Extrapolate through the thousand celebrations out there, estimated by the international group InterPride, and we’re talking a pile of cash to pay for our parties and related philanthropies. What once was a local protest/picnic/party has become a glittery state fair with tote bags.

How far will this go? Let’s contemplate the possibilities with a little snack — a rainbow-colored grilled cheese.

 

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