The rainbow colors of the Pride flag reflects the diversity and magic of the LGBTQ+ community. Activist Blair Imani, who has partnered with Skittles for this year’s Pride campaign, reminds us to respect the individuality of each person, and emphasizes the importance of examining the way that we refer to LGBTQ+ people who are not out—a topic that the educator has touched on via her Instagram page. Specifically, Imani cautions against using phrases such as “living a lie” and “hiding your truth.”
“We’re so indoctrinated to believe that if we don’t come out, we’re lying,” says Imani. “We generally know who were are. We’ve just been taught to doubt ourselves.”
Further, Imani adds that it’s essential to remember that in many cases, LGBTQ+ people expressing who they are is contingent upon whether they feel that they are in an environment that feels safe.
“It’s not a matter of us hiding our truth, it’s a matter of people around us making it safe for us to express who we are without us being under the threat of violence or harm or discrimination or bullying,” Imani explains. “If we say that someone is living a lie, then we say that LGBTQ+ people are deceitful. Instead of highlighting the fact that sometimes we have to hide in plain sight in order to survive. That’s not our fault, that’s a consequence of oppression.”
Thus, it’s also necessary to note that Pride Month is not just for members of the LGBTQ+ community who are out.
“It’s necessary to remind everyone that the most visible of us are not all of us,” she adds. “We all contribute to a society that makes it feel safe or unsafe for people to come out.”
Throughout Pride Month, Skittles has demonstrated its commitment to providing visibility to LGBTQ+ artists, creators, and influencers by way of its QueeR Code campaign. The initiative features murals designed by LGBTQ+ artists in Atlanta, Nashville, Newark, NJ, and San Antonio, TX that express what the rainbow means to them. Each mural features a QueeR code, which, when scanned, directs observers to the Skittles QueeR Codes website —a hub that is bursting with content and stories from the featured artists as well as other LGBTQ+ creators and influencers.
As part of the initiative, the brand has also brought back its limited-edition Pride Packs, which feature all-grey packaging and all-grey Skittles. For every Pride Pack sold, Mars Wrigley will donate $1 to GLAAD.
“So you’re actually supporting the LGBTQ+ community beyond June,” Imani tells EBONY. “It’s a way for us to get out of our comfort zones and actually show people material ways to support to LGBTQ+ community as a whole.”