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Indybay Feature

Pride, Prejudice & Corporate P.R: Corporate Capitalism and Anti-LGBTQIA+ Hate

Thursday, June 22, 2023
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Event Type:
Panel Discussion
Peninsula Peace & Justice Center
Location Details:
Online via Zoom


Corporate support of causes is simply public relations. It is a sign that the culture is shifting thanks to the hard work of those impacted. It does not mean the business actually cares.

Just days before the start of June, celebrated around the country and world as “Pride month,” Target corporation decided that proudly allying with the LGBTQIA+ community by selling
Pride-themed merchandise was not worth the alienation of bigots.

Facing rightwing violence and what it called “volatile circumstances,” the company pulled some of its rainbow-festooned products and moved pride-related displays to the back of stores in some locations. Other large retailers experienced similar incidents of intimidation, including Anheuser-Busch, maker of Budweiser beer.

What does it really mean when large corporations make public commitments in support
of Pride Month or Black History Month or Asian-American / Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander Month? Do they really care or is it all just marketing to bump up sales among certain demographics? And what messages are delivered when they back off those commitments in response to right-wing intimidation? Are they telling rightwing fanatics that violence works?

During this program, we’ll examine this particularly ugly aspect of 2023’s Pride celebrations, but we’ll also be taking a positive look at more optimistic developments from around the
United States and from around the world as the struggle for true LGBTQ liberation continues.



Craig Wiesner is co-founder of Reach and Teach, a shop in San Carlos dedicated to peacemaking, sustainable living, and inclusion that offers books, toys and fair-trade gifts from around the corner and around the world.

Craig has been deeply involved in social and economic justice issues and the peace movement for the last 25 years. He is married to his long-time partner, Derrick Kikuchi, with whom he shares his life, business, and dog Holly. Craig was appointed to the San Mateo County LGBTQ Commission in November 2015.


Bennet Marks worked as a software engineer, technical writer, and manager at Apple and Google. He has been an LGBTQ activist most of his adult life. In 1986, he founded Apple Lambda, the Apple Gay & Lesbian Employees Organization. He, along with other members, worked with Apple to create a workplace non-discrimination policy on sexual orientation, domestic partner benefits, and other policies for equal treatment of LGBTQ employees. He mentored and worked with employees of other Silicon Valley companies to develop similar policies at their workplaces. At Google, he was one of the founders of the Gayglers, their LGBTQ group. He has served on the board of BAYMEC (the South Bay LGBTQ PAC), NCTC (a queer San Francisco theater company), and other organizations. He lives in Sunnyvale with his husband Kim Harris, and their Norfolk terrier, Edison.


Other Voices host Paul George has been the Director of Peninsula Peace and Justice Center for 34 years and has been a grassroots activist and organizer his entire adult life, starting as a 16-year-old. Paul created Other Voices over 25 years ago as a “community conversation” featuring voices and issues ignored by corporate media. Paul has been producing and hosting monthly installments ever since. For most of that time, Other Voices was a monthly TV program; since the COVID pandemic, Other Voices has continued as a Zoom webinar.
Added to the calendar on Wed, Jun 21, 2023 12:51PM
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