Despite the overcast weather Saturday, Downtown Winston was filled with the bright, rainbow colors of Pride Winston-Salem. Winston’s annual Pride weekend continues to grow bigger and bigger each year.
Even though it’s a very commercial event sponsored by car salesmen, bankers and the like, attending Pride Winston-Salem is still a political action affirming the humanity of the LGBTQ Community. As long as there is still a vocal, hate-spewing, anti-LGBTQ minority, it will be important for gays and straight allies to stand together against them.
But I’m not sure that the greatest threat that the LGBTQ Community faces comes from deranged Bible-thumpers yelling at them in the streets. Corporate America, led by the un-American 1 percent of the nation is intent on profiting at the expense of us all.
Winston’s LGBTQ Community need look no further than some of the sponsors of Pride Winston-Salem to see where the real threats are. Reynolds, Wells Fargo, and Duke Energy are all corporate criminals. Between Reynolds, Wells, and Duke there is certainly enough corporate criminals to fill the Forsyth County Detention Center to capacity.
Reynolds American, a prominent sponsor of Pride Winston-Salem, was a part of Big Tobacco’s elaborate criminal conspiracy to keep the deadly truth about cigarettes from the American public for years.
Big Tobacco, the unscrupulous industry that has demonstrated for decades just how low corporations can go, has shamelessly targeted the LGBTQ Community. As smoking rates continue to drop in the U.S., they remain stubbornly high among certain segments of the population.
Overall, 20.6 percent of LGB adults smoke cigarettes compared to 14.9 percent of straight adults (according to the Truth Initiative). This isn’t by accident. Big Tobacco relies more and more on minority segments of the population to keep its sales from free-falling.
An R.J. Reynolds executive in the early 1990s was reported as saying “We reserve the right to smoke for the young, the poor, the black and stupid.” Add the LGBTQ Community to that list.
While crazy religious zealots will shout their agenda in the streets, corporations claiming to serve us threaten us and all that we hold dear.