Queer people poke fun at companies during Pride Month by parodying ads targeting the LGBTQ community on Twitter and TikTok.
June 1st marked the start of Pride Month and tweets rolled in, all following a similar script: A queer person shares something – possibly fictional – about their past, identity and/or coming out journey, and then reveals a fictional partnership a brand.
One of the first commercial spoofs released on June 1 appears to have come from Katie Jo, a TikToker and comedian. That night, she tweeted that she had “never officially come out as bisexual.”
“Partly because I’m married to a straight man and I’m afraid people won’t take my bisexuality seriously,” Jo tweeted. “But I realized that life is short, which is why I decided to work with Taco Bell so I could Mas-“
As of Thursday, Jo’s tweet had almost 160,000 likes on Twitter. Jo asked Taco Bell for a donation to the Trevor Project, a non-profit organization that aims to prevent suicide among LGBTQ youth.
Another tweet comes from author Maddy Fellows who tweeted that she was bullied as a teenager for dating a girl.
“They called me a ‘carpet eater,'” Fellows tweeted. “That’s why I’m working with Stanley Steemer, the carpet cleaner, this Pride month.” The Fellows’ tweet had nearly 130,000 likes as of Thursday.
Comedian Dylan Adler shared a similar story: He said he was bullied, insulted and thrown in a trash can for being gay.
“That’s why I’m proud to work with GLAD garbage bags,” says Adler tweeted on June 2nd.
Krishna Aghi, a researcher and graduate student, said that dealing with desirability politics as a trans woman of color “makes it so hard to be verbally abused.”
“And that’s why I’m partnering with Amtrak this Pride month,” says Aghi tweeted.
A response to Aghi’s tweet addressed the appeal of the phenomenon itself.
“I’ve read more than 6 of these tweets and NEVER see it coming,” @nani_xxxx tweeted.
The surprise of the tweets seems to lie in their striking resemblance to real Pride Month ads, like a TikTok posted by The Old Gays, a group of four older queer men, in June 2021. The video begins with each man explaining his coming-out journey: being outed against their will, losing a parent at a young age, fear of coming out to parents, and the insecurity that comes with exploring one’s own identity.
Suddenly, the four men are standing in front of a Shake Shack sign, all holding milkshakes.
“The old gays are steadfast!” they say before describing the restaurant’s Pride shake. A year later, the video has nearly 3.5 million views, and commenters said the ad brought them to tears.
The parody trend has also found its way onto TikTok. TikToker Tre Vayne posted a video on June 1 – which had nearly 45,000 views as of Thursday – full of jokes about Corporate Pride partnerships. In it, he jokes that he works with the Department of Homeland Security, Monsanto, and even the National Rifle Association.
“Love is love,” he wrote in the video’s caption. “And a check is a check.”
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*Initial publication: June 8, 2022 at 4:56 pm CDT
Tricia Crimmins is the IRL Editor at the Daily Dot. She is also a New York-based comedian studying at Columbia Journalism School. She has previously written for Mashable, Complex Networks and Moment magazine. She can be found on Twitter at @TriciaCrimmins.
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