In 2012, Sting relocated his concert from SM Mall of Asia, supposedly because of SM’s (now infamous) environmental-unfriendly reputation – largely because of the company’s plan to relocate trees just so it can expand in Baguio City. Since 1989, when Sting and his wife Trudie Styler founded Rainforest Foundation, the artist has been known as a staunch environmentalist, so holding a concert in the company’s venue is believed to contradict this.
This topic was raised again a few days ago, when – annoyed with the venue change – a journalist friend summed up the exasperation of many like him: “If these environmental activists REALLY abhor SM, then tell them not to go to any of SM’s mall ever again!”
And in a way, he was right.
Because in truth, many of the same environmental activists who rally against SM’s (further) developments in Baguio City (still) go to SM’s mall in the city. In a way, therefore, they’re supporting the business they claim to be on the wrong side.
But in a way too, this way of seeing is, in a word, unenlightened.
Because it neglects to include in the discussion “choice” (particularly, the lack thereof) – i.e. there are no other malls (as big as SM) in Baguio City.
(Besides, being environment conscious need not mean being anti-development.)
This same argument can be used in the use of the pink currency.
The truth is, LGBT people do not live in a vacuum.
So, yes, we may just want to watch LGBT-focused (if not necessarily LGBT-affirming) TV shows (think QAF, Cheche Lazaro’s LGBT-related documentaries, The L Word, et cetera); but in a country like the Philippines for instance, if we want to watch local TV, we’re stuck with ABS-CBN, GMA Network and TV5. Meaning, we have to put up with ABS-CBN’s That’s My Tomboy’s promotion of stereotypes, and GMA Network’s Bubble Gang’s continuing demeaning take on members of the LGBT community.
And we may only want to eat the offerings of LGBT-friendly businesses, but – rephrasing the cliché – no (wo)man can live on Green Tea Frappuccino alone (considering Starbucks’ pro-LGBT stance).
But this does not mean we don’t have to be selective – particularly when we can.
Because in the end, we have choices to make.
We can continue supporting those who hate us, and actually take steps to make sure we suffer.
Thereby financing their campaigns against us.
Or we can support them, though at the same time call their attention while hoping (against all odds at times) that they’d change their ways to actually acknowledge us. This has been done before…
Or just stop supporting them altogether, opting to back only businesses that respect LGBT people (that respect YOU!).
This could also mean supporting LGBT businesses.
Though – to be completely honest – NOT ALL LGBT businesses.
Because, in truth, there are LGBT-owned/run businesses as anti-LGBT as the rest of them.
Consider that in 2012, in the US alone, the LGBT buying power was estimated to be worth $790 billion. No, we don’t have the local figures yet – but to see we have some cash to spare, you only need to see how willingly gay men pay P400 on weekends to party at the always packed O Bar in Ortigas or P350 at the oft-visited Bed Bar in Greenfield District or pay thousands to attend dance parties that only fatten select people’s pockets.
We need to be selective.
Otherwise – by financing our haters – we end up agreeing with them we’re not worth anything.
Just think before you spend.
Support pink not only because it will allow us to show our pink power.
But also because it’s what’s right.