Alex Blaze

Solidarity? I think knot

Filed By Alex Blaze | May 28, 2009 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Media
Tags: gay marriage, levi's, LGBT, marriage, marriage equality, merchants, rights, same-sex marriage, stores

I'm just sick of these people who think that the LGBT movement is just a chance to make money:

LEVI'S is getting in the spirit of the season by dressing its storefront mannequins in white. In Levi's-owned stores in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco, that means more than just marking the passing of Memorial Day, the traditional date to begin wearing white: in 20 stores, the mannequins' white Levi's jeans and shirts are adorned with White Knots, a symbol of solidarity with the same-sex marriage movement.

Solidarity? Put those white knots in your stores in Orange County, Salt Lake City, and Ft. Wayne, and then we'll talk solidarity, Levi's. In LA, SF, NYC, and Chicago, where there's no risk at all to supporting same-sex marriage, it's just an advertising campaign that co-opts the LGBT movement to sell jeans.

I'm sure that there are some gays in those cities, though, who are ejaculating over themselves because of Levi's "solidarity." Hey, kids, you know they're just using your frustration and pain to sell you junk, right?

If this works out well for Levi's, maybe Martha Stewart can put out Limited Edition AIDS Quilt themed throw rugs and curtains. Better yet, McDonald's can put Gwen Araujo, Matthew Shepard, and Larry King's faces on fries containers to show their solidarity with hate crimes victims.

Only in cities that are already OK with the gay, of course. They wouldn't want to piss off their Real American clientele, now would they?

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I know this is going to sound bizarre coming from me, but hang on there a second Alex. Sure maybe they're making some promotional hay on this, but check this out.

This is just one example, I'm sure there are many more, as I've heard this kind of effort is a longtime ongoing thing at LS. This company doesn't just talk the talk, they walk the walk, too.

I know this is going to sound bizarre coming from me, but hang on there a second Alex. Sure maybe they're making some promotional hay on this, but check this out:

Levi Strauss Foundation Announces Two $25,000 Grants to Leading Equal Rights Organizations

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Levi Strauss Foundation today announced that it will make a $25,000 donation to the National Center For Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and $25,000 to The San Francisco LGBT Community Center (“The Center”). The Levi Strauss Foundation is providing this support for efforts to achieve full and equal access to civil and human rights for all.

NCLR was the lead counsel on the effort to overturn Proposition 8 in the California Supreme Court. NCLR is a non-profit, public interest law firm which litigates precedent-setting cases at the trial and appellate court levels; advocates for equitable public policies affecting the LGBT community; provides free legal assistance to LGBT people and their legal advocates; and conducts community education on LGBT legal issues.

“The Center” is dedicated to building community, creating opportunity and securing equality in San Francisco. Its mission is to provide space and programs that welcome the LGBT community and its allies; unite the San Francisco LGBT community across lines of age, race, gender and economics; give visibility to the history, culture, and diversity of the LGBT community; organize and plan the political and cultural future for the LGBT community; and nurture new organizations and programs to meet emerging community needs.

Robert Haas, President of the Levi Strauss Foundation, said, “The Levi Strauss Foundation and Levis Strauss & Co. have a proud history of promoting equal rights and fighting for social justice dating back to the 1940s when the company integrated our sewing plants.” Haas continued, “We’re making this commitment to these leading equal rights organizations because they are at the forefront of vital legal, public policy, community-building work to promote social justice. This is a critical time for businesses, community organizations and citizens to join together to achieve equal rights for all.”

Kate Kendall, Executive Director of NCLR, said, “We are deeply moved by the decision of the Levi Strauss Foundation to award the National Center for Lesbian Rights a $25,000 grant. As we move forward in ensuring that fairness prevails, support from our allies is more critical than ever. Levi Strauss & Co. was an early business leader in standing up for full equality for our community. We take heart in the early and steady leadership that Levi Strauss has shown.”

Executive Director of The Center, Rebecca Rolfe, said, “We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with the Levi Strauss Foundation and recognize the longtime support and engagement of Levis Strauss & Co. in the LGBT community locally and nationally. We’re excited to partner with them to ensure that the LGBT community in San Francisco has access to critical economic development, social services and a vibrant community culture.”

About the Levi Strauss Foundation

Established in 1952, the Levi Strauss Foundation is an independent private foundation that provides grants to community based organizations working to create meaningful social change. The Foundation funds programs worldwide that advance the human rights and well being of underserved people where Levi Strauss and Co. (LS&CO.) has a business presence. Levi Strauss Foundation giving is guided by a belief in empowering individuals and communities; a resolve to address social biases and inequalities and their impact on people and communities; and a commitment to work with other funders and encourage the collaborative efforts of its grantees. The Foundation's historic support for organizations that promote equality have included Project Change, an initiative to fight institutional racism in LS&CO. communities -- and organizations fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation such as Lambda Legal, The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), and Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues.

In addition to the work of the Levi Strauss Foundation in funding programs that promote equality, Levi Strauss & Co. has been a leader in the fight for equal rights in the workplace for over 50 years:

* 1940s – LS&CO. integrates California sewing plants decades before the law requires racial integration.
* 1960s – LS&CO. opens its first southern plant. Located in Blackstone, Virginia, the company insists from its inception that the facility be integrated.
* 1991 – "Project Change," an initiative to fight institutional racism in LS&CO. communities, is launched.
* 1992 – LS& CO. is the first Fortune 500 company to provide domestic partnership health benefits to the unmarried partners of its employees.
* 1992 – LS&CO. stops funding the Boy Scouts on principle that discrimination against gay people does not comply with company’s grants policy. LS&CO. stands firm under criticism, withstanding a national negative campaign.
* 2003 – nondiscrimination/non-harassment policies expanded to include transgender people.
* 2007 – LS&CO. is only company in CA to file an amicus brief with the CA Supreme Court supporting same-sex marriage.
* 2008 – Levi’s® brand wins GLAAD media award for Gay-themed television advertising that runs on mainstream cable channels
* 2008 – Company co-chairs No on Prop 8 Business Advisory Council.
* 2009 – Company joins Google and SF Chamber in amicus brief to the CA Supreme Court urging the court to invalidate Prop 8.
* Ongoing – Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Business Coalition co-chair, lobbying for all-inclusive ENDA and Domestic Partnership Tax Equity Act.

This is just one example, I'm sure there are many more, as I've heard this kind of effort is a longtime ongoing thing at LS. This company doesn't just talk the talk, they walk the walk, too.

They don't have a store in Fort Wayne or Salt Lake City, just the one in Irvine, which while is Orange County, it's also a college town...

And Levi's is headquartered in San Francisco, and supports the LGBT community in many, many ways here and elsewhere. Like that big grant and press release commented upon upstream.

And while I understand and even to a point agree with your sentiment, you picked the wrong target.

Matt Foreman | May 28, 2009 6:16 PM

Alex -

I'm really disappointed in you. Levi's history on LGBT rights is beyond impressive. It comes from the heart and the company was there in the fight long before any other corporation and long before we were recognized and exploited as a "market."

Even today, the number of corporations willing to take a stand for marriage equality is tiny. Once again, Levi's has been and remains in the forefront.

Matt Foreman

PS: I am proud to work at a foundation created by the heirs of Levi Strauss. We give away more money to the LGBT community than any non-gay-identified foundation. Why? Because our trustees believe it's the right thing to do, period. It's apparently in the genes and jeans.

I am proud to work at a foundation created by the heirs of Levi Strauss.

Well, thanks for explaining where you're coming from.

Alex, your reply to Matt Foreman came across as a little flippant, not sure it you meant it that way. I have to believe you know that Matt Foreman is one of the leaders of the GLBT movement for over 25 years. If you don't, please do some research. I have to agree with several of the other posters that Levi's is the wrong target of your rant. The company is behind the GLBT movement all the way and I think you owe them an apology. By allienating our friends, we just make more enemies.

beergoggles | May 28, 2009 8:08 PM

I'm more likely to spend some green on levis cargos than I am to donate to another obama campaign..

I just wish their 32 inseams were actually 32 and not 36...

Oh, please please please let no one interpret this as a call to boycott.

Good point!

Ooh, that AIDS quilt throw rug would look so good in my entryway...