This article was published on December 13th, 2018
There are many companies making the news media, but few so frequently covered and discussed as Amazon. As these corporate giants are taking over and changing consumerism at a rapid pace; however, it there are questions if they actually good for the community and society. And when it comes to gay people, how are these companies in regard to queer rights and protections, are corporate giants a friend or foe of the LGBT community?
Amazon has been making recent headlines for two main reasons: the wages they pay their workers while their CEO gets richer and richer, and over the hunt for their new headquarters locations. While initially applauded for avoiding opening their new division heads in states without LGBT protections like Florida, Texas, and Tennessee, their decision to open up the new homes for the HQ 2 in Virginia and New York has been highly scrutinized.
When the Washington Post reported back in April that: “Amazon has quietly made rights for and acceptance of gay and transgender people part of its criteria in choosing a second headquarters,” many queer Virginians pointed out to their state’s long held anti-LGBT stances and limited protections for queer people. Activists in more progressive states remarked that if Amazon really wanted to stand up for LGBT people, that it would have opened up its new head branch in a more liberal part of the country.
Newly elected congresswoman and Democratic socialist political celeb of the hour Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is denouncing the move by Amazon to her district of the Bronx in NYC, calling for Amazon to up their hourly pay and extend more benefits to its workers. Many New York officials are also questioning some of the legalities surrounding Amazon’s move to the Bronx.
Amazon needs to do a complete 180 and start standing up for the rights of its employees, especially the queer ones. They and other corporate giants should put their money where their mouth is and actively campaign for LGBT and minority rights. Sure, Amazon is no Chic Fil A, a company that vehemently and proudly stands as anti-gay. But Amazon is certainly no Apple, Starbucks, Barefoot Wines, American Airlines, TELUS, or Microsoft, who have all contributed towards the betterment of queer people, their lives, and rights.
There is a new wave or progressive liberal candidates and elected officials refusing to take corporate money or donations during their election campaigns. Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, and Beto O’Rourke are all notable politicians who have recently ran on the promise of avoiding corporate influence and keeping corporations out of government. These companies are simply placating the gay community for the pink dollar. They rather use their huge financial power to back leaders who give them lip service.
Only time will tell of how well Amazon helps or hurts the communities it is about to set up shop in. Until you know whose side a company is on, its best to do your research and put your money where your mouth and priorities are. Because that’s exactly what these corporate giants are doing: looking out for their own best interests.