Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is...That Is, When It's Not Wrapped Around A Cock.

I saw an item today about how UPS has denied benefits to the civil union-ed partner of one of its employees in New Jersey. UPS claims that the couple's civil union is not a marriage and, therefore, they cannot provide the benefits that they provide to the family of their opposite-sex "married" employees. It's unclear as to whether UPS is simply being shitty and discriminatory or if they're purposefully trying to push the issue in an effort to tear down the (not) separate-but-equal status of same-sex civil unions. Personally, I'm leaning towards their being good guys in this situation.

I've looked UPS up on HRC's Equality Index, which is basically a ratings system for how gay-friendly corporations are, and they have a fairly respectable score of 80 (out of a possible 100). That's not phenomenal but it kicks the crap out of FedEx's shameful score of 55!! Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that UPS provides it's gay married Massachusetts' employees with same-sex benefits but FedEx has refused, citing that the federal government doesn't recognize same-sex marriage. (Thanks, DOMA.) FedEx is evil and you should not use them for your mailing needs. They're like the Exxon of shipping.

So then that reminded me of something that I wanted to write about. Please, please, please whenever possible spend your money responsibly in regards to the gay community. I use the aforementioned HRC's Equality Index a lot. If I'm looking to buy something I compare the scores of competing businesses and always try to give my money to the company with the best rating. For example, always choose Target (a score of 80) over Wal-mart (65). And if possible go to Costco (93) over Target!

This past weekend I was looking to buy an mp3 player. I did some research online and found the cheapest sale prices at Radio Shack and Circuit City. However, when I looked them up on the Equality Index I was very disappointed to find Radio Shack's abysmal score (40), so I knew right off I wouldn't buy anything from them. Circuit City didn't fare much better (55). However, I remembered Best Buy and was thrilled to see their perfect score (100)!! So that's where I went for my mp3 player and that's where I'll go for all my electronic needs from now on until one of their competitor's matches their score.

It's not quite enough to just spend your money responsibly though. You have to let the businesses know why you're making your choice to spend or not spend money with them. Take one or two minutes to Google a company's web site and locate their "contact" link or page. Then send them a brief message telling them that until their policies regarding queers improves you'll be taking your business to competitor "X" who has a much better track record. And if a company is gay-friendly drop them a line too, so that they know it does make a difference and you appreciate their progressive policies.

It's not a lot but this type of "armchair activism" will be more effective than any sort of picketing or other confrontational tactic. This is America, baby. The great bastion of capitalism. People can go on and on about how great our democracy is but the bottom line is the bottom dollar. Money talks louder than any verbal screams of protest. You want progress? Then stop funneling money into the hands those that hate us. For real, bitches.

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