Jari Jones’ Pride ick points out a big problem with trans representation

June is the one month a year that brands devote their advertising to LGBTQ+ people — but that doesn’t mean Pride campaigns are a good source of queer representation, particularly when it comes to trans people, as artist and activist Jari Jones called out in a new video.

Jones — an actress, model, producer, designer, and more — took to Instagram to share what she called “another ick: Pride edition.”

“For a movement that was built on the love from trans people, more specifically Black trans women, Pride campaigns surely have a hard time showing trans people in any capacity of love,” Jones said. “You’ll have the gay cis couple, you’ll have the lesbian cis couple — hell, you’ll have the cis gay lesbian polyamorous couple with a baby! Oh, and if you do have us, it’s only promoting ‘self-love,’ which just further perpetuates the narrative that the only love that we will receive will be from ourselves — which is just one big-*ss lie.” 

“We got boyfriends, we got girlfriends, and nonbinary baddies, all who love us, who make love to us, who take care of us,” she continued. “So stop the lies, because there’s somebody always between these thighs. Check that, pookie.”

Jones raises an extremely important point about representation in general. The mere act of inclusion isn’t enough if it doesn’t paint an accurate picture of the community you’re trying to include. In this case, Pride campaigns that depict queer couples but leave out trans folks are missing the mark in a major way.

Jones expanded on her message in the video’s caption, writing that she’s “tired of the toxic positivity” of Pride campaigns.

“Stop spreading the false narrative that the only love we receive is from ourselves!!” Jones wrote. “Don’t get me wrong, we champion self love more than anyone, but there are also a world of people who love us beyond the familial (Motherr) and caricature [of] royalty (Queeen) pedestal that y’all put us on!!! We have intimate relationships with people of all kind!! We are not unlovable, we are not alone! Our lovers are not in hiding and they are proud, so let the world see us being loved on!!”

Jones’ comments section was full of folks agreeing with her message. “Say it louder for the people living under rocks,” wrote one commenter.

Others pointed out exactly what kind of representation they feel Pride is missing. “Where’s my T4T?” asked one commenter.

“Also so often it’s only white cis couples,” pointed out another. “Like no offense but where’s the flavourrr.”

Advertisers could learn a big lesson from Jones: if you’re trying to court the queer community, you’d better do it right and know that all queer people, including trans folks, are more than capable of love.

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