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Celebrating Pride with TUSHY and The Trevor Project

As a marketing professional and a gay man in New York City, the month of June can be a lot for me. Often times it feels like Rainbow Brite came to town like Santa Claus after I went to bed on May 31st. Walking through the city streets and seeing rainbow flags and Pride banners can feel like an affirmation of identity. But it can just as easily feel like pandering, or even worse, it can feel exploitative - specifically when brands aren’t giving back.  When it comes to celebrating Pride at TUSHY, I like to make sure we do it right. That’s why this year we’ve partnered with The Trevor Project and are giving 100% of revenue from sales of our Limited Edition Rainbow “Ask Me About My Butthole” t-shirts to further the amazing work Trevor does to help LGBTQ+ youth.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all buttholes are created equally.

If you didn’t know, The Trevor Project is a national organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning young people. Rates of depression and suicide are disproportionately higher among queer teens - a fact that shows despite the progress we’ve made, we still have a long road ahead of us to true acceptance and equality.

In 2011, I went to my first NYC Pride. Even with all the many memorable things that I witnessed and participated in that weekend, like seeing the Empire State Building lit up in rainbows, meeting the guys from The A-List (am I dating myself?), and celebrating the NY Marriage Equality Act outside Stonewall, the parade still stands out to me. That year, my friends all walked with The Trevor Project - my first introduction to the vital work Trevor does for at-risk LGBTQ+ youth. While my friend who worked there at the time has gone on to some new GAYPIN’ adventures, I’ve been lucky enough to have multiple friends go on to join the team at Trevor - among them the most vocal bidet enthusiast I’ve ever known, the most fun collaborator I’ve ever worked with, and one of the funniest people I’ll ever meet. With that history and personal investment, I knew The Trevor Project would be the ideal partner for our Pride giveback campaign.

At TUSHY, I’ve gotten to partake in some wild, loud, and impactful campaigns. Last year at the Poop-Up Shop we created our first “Ask Me About My Butthole.” t-shirts for our in-store uniforms. They were such a hit and so on the nose with our product and brand voice we ended up selling them in store, and now online. There is a universal truth to these shirts that really delights people. They have become a hallmark of our brand and have helped us become more visible. 

 As a marketing professional, I understand the importance of visibility - not only for brands aligning themselves with those in marginalized groups but for the individuals who make up those groups. Living in a big city where your identity is publicly affirmed year-round, it’s easy to take for granted the rainbows and performativity of corporations at Pride. That’s why I try to be mindful that for many people throughout the country— and the world —those acknowledgments of identity, that acceptance of personhood in the form of Pride merch, is more than many people are used to seeing. And for individuals who espouse hate and bigotry, those brand partnerships serve as a reminder - they are on the wrong side of history.

As a member of the gay community, I also see the whitewashing of queer culture that often comes with corporate sponsorships of Pride. The commodification of rainbow merch, phrases like “Love Is Love” that completely divorce the gesture from the identities they’re intended to acknowledge, including the Queer Eye guys and other gay icons in your big budget music video, the list goes on. I wanted us to evoke a message that recognized marginalized individuals, embraced diversity, and stood out in the waves of ROY G. BIV - lucky for me, we already had one: “Ask Me About My Butthole.”  

galaxy brain butthole

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