Pride Month Props: Square Enix gets a hand for showing a soul

Pride Month Props: Square Enix gets a hand for showing a soul

Square Enix has been pretty supportive of the LGBTQIA+ community in the past, but I was really happy to see their gesture this month.


It's Pride Month. For an openly bi male with a trans spouse, this month means a lot to me and mine. It's also kind of exhausting. This is the month when we see corporations plaster themselves in rainbows for one month only and put on what is usually a soulless facade of support for the LGBTQIA+ community because that's what their marketing team says they should do. It's mostly thinly veiled and gross...

So when I see a company that does something genuinely good and supportive, above and beyond just slapping a rainbow logo up and calling it a day, I can't help but applaud. That recognition goes to Square Enix this week. You may recall that last year, Square Enix introduced an actual LGBTQIA+ mascot for its brand. I actually wrote about it because it was so nice to see in a very difficult  month last year.

This chipper lil' colorful bird was designed by amazing Square Enix artist Toshiyuki Itahana, who contributed tons of work to games like Chocobo Dungeon and Final Fantasy 9. It doesn't have a name yet, but Itahana created it to be an embodiment of freedom and diversity, going anywhere and bringing all of the colors to every situation. It seemed to me that Itahana didn't just slap this together. I feel it's got genuine love and care in its design. It's the kind of thing I would wear on a t-shirt and expressed as much last year.

Square Enix heard me and people like me loud and clear. They did put this cute lil fellow on a shirt. Several, in fact. And we even get to name the bird. Now, you might think, "oh, here we go, the corporation is cashing in on your love of their work. Here comes the exploitation." If I saw this without knowing the situation, I might be concerned too.

That said, Square Enix actually took the time to make it happen for the right reason. And that's a thing, as a huge company, it would look very disingenuous to cash in on a month of celebration of marginalized groups. That was what made me thrilled to see that not only did Square Enix put this on merhandise, but the profits from sales are being wholly donated towards LGBTQIA+ charity and support groups GLAAD and Stonewall.

I will admit y'all, I'm very much a mark for a lot of silly things. I want to believe in the good in people and groups where applicable... but I'm not an idiot, especially when it comes to matters of LGBTQIA+. Because of myself and my loved ones, I can't afford to be.  A lot of companies (A LOT) put up the rainbow in June, do nothing outside of that, and think that's support. Some of them are even disingenuous enough to be anti-LGBTQIA+ or support activity or groups that are, sometimes inside the month... sometimes year round.

So, let me say this from the bottom of my heart: this was cool to me. Square Enix went beyond saying or showing support of Pride Month. They're actually actively doing something to support it. I'll give them a hand... Any other organizations you've been surprised to see go above and beyond a marketing move? Share the ones you think are doing it right! And no matter who you are or what you believe in, have a happy Pride Month.

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