Like many corporate sponsors of Pride, Nike has been taking notes and reading the room. Its latest BeTrue campaign is titled “Until We All Win,” with the commitment to advance equality and break down barriers.
“To celebrate Pride Month, we’re honoring the strength, creativity and Black roots of Pride,” the company said in a statement on its “From Protest to Progress” website, announcing the campaign.
“As we march together toward a more equal and just future, it’s important to remember our past. Let’s not forget that the Pride movement itself began as a protest. The historic Stonewall uprisings in 1969 played a key role in liberating the LGBTQIA+ community and allowing their demands for equality to be heard — and a number of the heroes who catalyzed this movement were transgender people of color, namely Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.”
To embody that message, Nike chose six LGBTQIA+ athletes, advocates and role models for this year’s BeTrue campaign: trailblazing transgender swimmer Schuyler Bailar, LGBT heptathlete Erica Bougard, lesbian soccer athletes and Women’s World Cup champions Tierna Davidson and Adrianna “A.D.” Franch, as well as pioneering gay Los Angeles Rams cheerleaders Napoleon Jinnies and Quintin Peron.
“These leaders embody what it means to strive for a better future — for themselves, for each another and for the next generation,” Nike declared in its statement.
“It is of the utmost importance to use our platform, to push key ideas, opinions and issues across to the population that we have the ability to reach,” said USWNT’s Tierna Davidson.
“[I keep] going back to advice for the younger [generation]. Don’t try to make other people comfortable. You’re not put on this earth to abide by somebody else’s rules,” said Quintin Peron.
“Teams should always allow individuals to shine in their strengths and be supported.” – Adrianna “A.D.” Franch, NWSL and Women’s World Cup Champion Goalkeeper
The video accompanying the campaign features each of these icons. Bailar explained why he decided to become a Nike BeTrue athlete at a time when the very idea of inclusion for trans athletes is under attack nationwide.
“What I fight for is that my existence will no longer be political at some point,” he said. “My being a trans athlete will no longer be a political statement. Being a trans athlete to me is about my passion for sport, and it’s about not letting anything hold me back — not other people, not injuries, not rules and definitely not my identity.”
Unlike a great majority of rainbow-festooned brands, Nike is a long-time, proven partner that puts its money where its swoosh is: the clothing and shoe manufacturer announced Friday it is awarding $500,000 to 20 organizations that benefit the LGBTQ community and advance its causes.
The grants of $25,000 each are administered by the Charities Aid Foundation of America.