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Pride organisers say Primark’s Pride merchandise range is an ‘insult’

Nick Duffy May 22, 2018

Discount clothing chain Primark is to sell LGBT Pride merchandising in stores.

The cut-priced clothing company has announced that it will bring Pride merch to select stores across Europe and the US as part of a partnership with British LGBT charity Stonewall.

Under the deal, Stonewall will receive 20 percent of the proceeds of the rainbow-branded range, which is hitting individual stores to coincide with Pride events this summer.

Primark said: “The full collection is bursting with rainbow shades and motifs, as well as trendy‐savvy designs and key seasonal items.

“Best of all, 20 percent from all full price Stonewall‐marked products will be donated directly to the charity itself, with the proceedings being used to support the community, globally.”

However, the news has not gone down well with some LGBT activists, who have challenged Stonewall over the deal.

Many questioned why cash-strapped local Pride organisers were getting no money from the sales in their own cities.

The UK Pride Organisers Network, which brings together organisers of more than 140 LGBT+ Pride events around the UK, branded the deal an “insult” in a statement to PinkNews.

The group said: “The Network was disappointed to see that proceeds [are] not being donated to the Pride organisations that organise these events.

“Instead, it is being given to Stonewall who, whilst they attend some Prides, do not organise the events themselves.

“All Pride organisations are voluntary bodies that struggle every year to raise the funds necessary to hold these major public events, most of which are free to attend.

“In the last week, in one city where Primark will be selling these products, the Pride has announced it is scaling back its event due to a lack of funds. This is a daily reality for most Pride organisers.

“Stonewall have been critical of Prides in the past, and this is an insult to those Prides who sell their own merchandise to raise funds for their events.”

The network added: “We urge everyone who wants to support their local Pride to do so by purchasing merchandise from them, or from stall holders at the event.

“We call on Stonewall to work with us to reallocate the income they receive from this partnership so that it can be used to directly support Pride organisers who are driving the Pride movement for the good of all LGBT+ people across the UK.

“Finally, given Primark’s history, we seek reassurances from Primark that the production of these items is not taking place in any country where homosexuality is illegal.”

Several activists took to Twitter to voice their discontent.

Stonewall, a campaigning and advocacy organisation, does not run or provide funding to local Pride events.

Others noted that Primark’s supply chain is largely reliant on cheap goods and labour from Bangladesh and India – where homosexuality is illegal and workers have few rights.

The clothing giant insists it has cleaned up its supply chain in recent years, after previous allegations of “sweatshop” conditions at its supplier factories.

The company says: “At Primark, suppliers and factories commit to make our products in factories with good working conditions so that people are treated decently and paid a fair wage.”

Primark’s release states: “For Pride 2018, we’ve teamed up with the LGBT charity, Stonewall, to create a capsule range of Pride‐ready goodies.

“Our Pride 2018 collection has now dropped and is officially in selected UK stores! Conceived and developed in partnership with Stonewall, the range is packed full of Pride‐ready goodies AND 20 percent from full-price, Stonewall marked products will be donated directly to the charity itself … yep ‐ you heard that!

“The full collection is bursting with rainbow shades and motifs, as well as trendy‐savvy designs and key seasonal items.

“Best of all, 20% from all full‐price Stonewall‐marked products will be donated directly to the charity itself, with the proceedings being used to support the community, globally.”

Media giant Disney also announced a foray into the Pride merchandise market this year.

The store introduced a transgender-inclusive changing room policy in 2015.

The employee guidebook states: “Customers should be comfortable when they try anything on, so transgender people may use whichever fitting room they choose.

“When in doubt it’s pretty easy to know what to do – just give the same level of great service to everyone!”

Primark confirmed: “It is Primark policy to allow all transgender customers to use the fitting rooms of their choice in Primark stores. As you can imagine all our staff are trained on this.”

However, last month it was alleged that a transgender customer was forced to show her passport before she could access the changing room at a Primark store.

More: fashion, Gay, LGBT, merchandise, Pride, primark, rainbow

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