We know the hip sneakers and displays of books, all exhibited in such a cool, urban manner, are calling your name. The company isn't antigay, but it still might leave LGBT hipsters wondering.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, the company (and its other brands, Anthropologie, Free People, and BHLDN) does not offer very many protections to its LGBT employees. And on top of that, the CEO is known to have donated to anti-LGBT politicians like Rick Santorum. Urban Outfitters once stocked pro-marriage equality shirts but pulled them after a week in 2008. When asked in 2003 for his views were on homosexuality, chairman Richard Hayne told the Philadelphia Weekly, "I have my own opinion, but I am not going to share it." As far as we can tell, a decade later, little has changed.
But it isn't all bad news. UO is all about capitalizing on trends. So with the wave of support for marriage equality, the company's April 2012 catalog featured two hipster girls kissing on page 2, which sent One Million Moms into a tizzy.
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This holiday shopping season, the most fashionable attire comes from stores that are LGBT-friendly. Kenneth Cole, through many tongue-in-cheek ad campaigns, is a longtime supporter of LGBT people. The company has collaborated with organizations such as HRC to raise funds and awareness with pro-marriage equality apparel like the “Get Married” T-shirt. In addition to boasting an LGBT-friendly workplace environment, Ralph Lauren has also contributed to making equality fashionable. The company has worked extensively with the Hetrick-Martin Institute, which operates the Harvey Milk School for LGBT youth, by providing its students with in-the-field learning opportunities and the school itself with design and marketing resources.
The HRC Buyer’s Guide has also given positive reviews to such retailers as Aeropostale, Tiffany & Co., Armani Exchange, and Coach for including sexual orientation and gender identity and expression within their nondiscrimination policies as well as for above-and-beyond supportiveness of LGBT employees and organizations. And pet guardians, be advised: PetSmart also scored good marks, so even gifts for Rover can help support LGBT-friendly businesses.
Then there's Nike, which has thrown boatloads of corporate money to marriage equality in Washington and Oregon as well as fostered an LGBT coalition within the company and lobbied for nondiscrimination laws for LGBT employees.
Your local, in-a-pinch electronics store at least has anti-discrimination protections for gay and lesbian workers and provides domestic-partner health insurance benefits to employees' same-sex parters. But Radio Shack doesn't yet have a provision to protect transgender employees, nor does it guarantee them health coverage, or offer LGBT-focused diversity training. A number of businesses lack these policies, but in this case, if you're fixing to buy an iPad for someone on your Nice list and you don't mind braving the masses, remember that Best Buy has a perfect score on HRC's equality index.