Rothy's and Future LGBTQ+ Contributions

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Natalie Quebodeaux started this petition to Rothy's

We, the shoe-loving LGBTQ+ and allies of the Rothy's Community, find it pertinent to reach out beyond social media to further discuss the impact of the "White Rainbow Sneaker" on the LGBTQ+ community. Our hope is not to boycott Rothy's or (other stuff?), but to discuss real change that can be made as a result of this blunder. 

This shoe was advertised in numerous places, including emails and Instagram, as a shoe that will "celebrate the resilience of the LGBTQ+ community." This is something we have been waiting for - something that is functional, wearable, and helps celebrate our own pride. The shoe we hoped for and longed to celebrate, we did not receive.

Intentionally leaving colors out of our Pride flag while claiming this is in support of the LGBTQ+ community is hurtful and harmful. In case this isn't clear yet, we implore you to read and research more about the meaning behind the flag - not just the colors, but the entire movement. While originally designed by Gilbert Baker with 8 colors and meanings, it was intentionally reduced to the widely adopted 6-color flag we know today (red, orange, yellow, green, indigo, violet). Deleting a color from the flag effectively deletes a meaning and a message from the Pride rainbow.

Supporting a brand that supports a cause typically means a transparent donation. However, as best we can tell, no profit from this shoe is supporting any known LGBTQ+ non-profit or foundation.

Giving away shoes under the guise of supporting the LGBTQ+ community while not actually putting any work into supporting the community is again, hurtful and harmful.

First, these as we've hopefully made clear at this point, these shoes do not represent the LGBTQ+ community.

Second, the complete lack of transparency in this gifting is incredibly suspicious. Are people being nominated or is there an application? Or does Rothy's maintain some sort of database with LGBTQ+ healthcare workers? Or will you be showing up to a hospital with shoes while publicly outing people? There is no way for us to know the process, but you can let the Rothy's community know how many shoes are being donated and how they're being donated. Or better yet, you could make a difference with your donation for an entire community by funding LGBTQ+ organizations.

Commercialization is not support. Stating this shoe design is a celebration of San Francisco and the incredible resilience of the LGBTQ+ community while not financially supporting such organizations with a shoe that completely misses the mark is called Rainbow-washing. To us, Rothy's appears to just be another company looking to profit off of the backs of the LGBTQ+ community during Pride month. Rainbow-washing will not be tolerated. Many stores and places are doing this but for a company that continues to claim that they want to make a change and be the change for the world, we expect you to do better. Corporations could be powerful allies using their privilege and deep pockets to put people who do real work for the LGBTQ+ community front and center. Co-opting a color scheme and a few hashtags is not that.

What we want to see:

  1. An actual apology
    • Editing a social media post’s caption is not an apology. Adding a temporary apology to a social media story is not an apology. We would like to see a complete and thorough apology posted on social media and sent to e-mail subscribers.
    • The "apology" that was given to the Rothy and LGBTQ+ community as a whole was very tone deaf. It seemed as if you were just trying to dig yourself out of the hole you created.
    • We do NOT want to hear “we missed the mark”, we want to see that you have learned from your experience and are willing to grow as a company.
    • Please include in the apology what Rothy’s will be doing differently next time Rothy’s designs a shoe to celebrate a community or movement.
    • Edit or redo the design following the requests outlined in this petition. We want to see a new and true Pride shoe that fiscally supports the LGBTQ+ community. There is no need to wait until June 2021 to fix your mistake.
  2. Consult the LGBTQ+ community
    • Have a designer from the community who knows and understands the meaning and importance of representation.
    • Show options and allow the LGBTQ+ community vote on future representation. We want the shoes to both represent us and speak for us.
    • Have fans and those in the LGBTQ+ community create/design shoes and send them to you. This could allow for possibilities that were not considered, collaboration, and even getting a bigger following. If you go this route, whoever’s shoe gets chosen should receive a free pair of shoes and get to choose where the contributions go.
  3. A plan for representation
    • Donate. Donate. DONATE. Put your money where your mouth is and donate to LGBTQ+ communities and businesses.
    • Use proceeds from the shoe that will represent the LGBTQ+ community to give back and truly support the community.
    • Collaborate with LGBTQ+ owned businesses to allow your shoes to be sold in their stores to support them.
    • Donate to LGBTQ+ owned businesses!
    • Diversity within the design team really will showcase the world as a whole, not just a particular group of people or women.
    • Representation of different people within your promotional campaigns. It feels like you are gearing things towards a specific type of person currently and you are beginning to feel out of touch. With diversity in all aspects, this will change everything.
  4. Stand out as more than just a company
    • Be the diverse company that stands up for what is right and represents those who may not have a voice. Use your privilege to the world's advantage. Yes, you post on instagram and facebook about what is going on around the world, but it is not enough to say something. We want to see action.
    • Be a vocal ally- Again, use your privilege to speak up. We will stand with you, but you must take diversity and the community you are speaking for into consideration. With your platform comes a responsibility to speak for those who continue to go unheard.
    • Donate. Donate. DONATE. Put your money where your mouth is and donate to LGBTQ+ communities and businesses. I can’t say this enough. This part will help to fight the good fight.
    • Be inclusive and representative in your promotional campaigns. You can do this in so many ways. Bi-racial couples, LGBTQ+ couples, families with same sex partners, people of color, different ways of living and more. 
    • Be consistent with where you stand. Right now Rothy seems wishy washy. We want to see consistency and confidence in those who are in the LGBTQ+ community.
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