Scroll To Top

Where to Shop, Not Shop

The Where to Shop, Not Shop

Donald Trump had a big effect on where LGBT people should shop this holiday season.

With the holiday shopping season upon us, The Advocate presents a list of companies to patronize and ones to avoid, especially given the results of the presidential election. The color coding is green: OK to shop, yellow: proceed with caution, and red: don't go there.

GREEN: Stock Up at Home Depot
The rumors aren't exactly true. Spending money at Home Depot isn't a way of funneling money to the Trump campaign. While its founder, Bernie Marcus, is indeed a Trump donor who wrote an op-ed in June headlined, "Why I Stand With Donald Trump," that doesn't mean the company had anything to do with it. Marcus wrote, "Like many, I am deeply concerned about the U.S. Supreme Court. When Trump recently released his list of potential appointees, I grew confident in his resolve to keep our court balanced." Those nominees are overwhelmingly anti-LGBT and were released only as evidence Trump would try to overturn marriage equality via the high court. Marcus has said much worse, defending Trump against sexual assault allegations. But Marcus hasn't worked for Home Depot for more than a decade, and during that time, the home improvement superstore has been repeatedly targeted by the right-wing for its support of LGBT people and issues. Here's how we've rated Home Depot in the past: "Back in 2004, the company began extending benefits to employees' same-sex partners, setting off a firestorm of opposition from antigay activists. The result has been multiple unsuccessful boycotts, protests, and petitions. Even when Home Depot received a petition with 500,000 signatures asking the company to stop supporting LGBT employees and customers, chairman Frank Blake did not back down."

GREEN: Paying for News
Besides giving to a worthy nonprofit like the National Center for Lesbian Rights or the Transgender Law Center, gift a loved one some knowledge with a subscription to a worthy publication like The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, or The New Yorker. After this election, it became clear we have to invest and support real journalism -- and not get all our news from our skewed newsfeed, unreliable Twitter, or screeching talking heads of CNN and Fox News. The NYT reported a robust uptick in subscriptions since Trump's November victory in the Electoral College, and you can be sure the paper of record will hold him accountable. You can also donate money in someone's name to nonprofit news organizations like ProPublica. And, hey, don't forget The Advocate.

GREEN: Hamilton Tickets -- Whenever They're Finally Available
The hit Broadway musical Hamilton found itself unexpectedly in the center of national politics last weekend when Vice President-elect Mike Pence attended a performance. The crowd both booed and cheered the Republican politician. But it was its cast who made headlines for delivering a speech after the performance, which expressed fears "that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights." In his remarks, actor Brandon Victor Dixon implored Pence to "uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us."

Afterward, Donald Trump tweeted his outrage that Pence was "harassed" by the cast, which sparked an online boycott of the show among his supporters -- although tickets are extremely scarce anyway, so the action seemed rather pointless. But it also cemented Hamilton, which has been celebrated for its diverse vision of America's founding and future, as a play that champions liberal values and that liberals should continue to support. Hopefully, its performances will be sold out for many years to come.

GREEN: Get Your Starbucks Fix
You can feel some financial guilt for your daily latte, but there's no moral conundrum in patronizing Starbucks. The Seattle-based company has a long history of being LGBT-friendly, offering up safe spaces for victims of hate crimes and loudly proclaiming corporate support for marriage equality. The ubiquitous chain has often found itself in the cultural cross hairs, though (the red Christmas cups!), including after this year's election. Recently, a smattering of coffee-lovers declared themselves "Trump" to their local Starbucks cashier, leading baristas to yell out our president-elect's name (shudder). This strange habit became the unfortunate and thankfully short-lived #TrumpCup phenomenon. Regardless, we're pretty sure where the company stands on equality and it's not on Trump's team (even if it operates a store in New York's infamous Trump Tower). Sip on.

GREEN: Get Everything at Target
The retail chain made news earlier this year when it announced plans to install gender-neutral bathrooms in all of its 1,800 stores. The company put $20 million into installing bathrooms that will serve families and people of all genders. But Target wasn't always this pro-LGBT. At one point, the Human Rights Campaign dropped it from its buyers' guide and Lady Gaga canceled a deal to sell an exclusive version of her album Born This Way at Target, because of a political contribution to an antigay candidate. Target now has a perfect 100 score on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index.

GREEN: Stand Tall With
At least one retailer seems to have the guts to stand up to the Trump family. had sold Ivanka Trump's line of footwear but announced on Twitter this month that "We understand and your voices have been heard. We have removed the products from our website." It's a Canadian company. And, they wrote further that, "We want to support our customers and make sure they can continue to stand tall." Cheers broke out from those supporting the #GrabYourWallet boycott movement that targets Trump's wallet. Unfortunately, someone deleted those tweets and replaced them with a more corporate sounding explanation that you can read now on Twitter.

GREEN: Ice Cream in the Cold
Ben & Jerry's made headlines earlier this year when the ice cream company released a statement of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. "Systemic and institutionalized racism are the defining civil rights and social justice issues of our time," company officials wrote. "We've come to understand that to be silent about the violence and threats to the lives and well-being of Black people is to be complicit in that violence and those threats." These words did not sit well with many conservatives as well as the police organization Blue Lives Matter, which called for a boycott of the Vermont-based company. But LGBT folks should embrace the sweet taste of solidarity with other vulnerable communities.

GREEN: Let's Have a Parade to Macy's
Macy's is a trailblazer when it comes to dumping Trump. After the president-elect announced his candidacy, by calling Mexicans rapists and criminals, Macy's stopped selling any Trump brand products, including those infamous power ties. "We have no tolerance for discrimination in any form," the company said in a statement to CNN. "We welcome customers, and respect for the dignity of all people is a cornerstone of our culture." The #GrabYourWallet movement will note that Macy's still carries products by Ivanka Trump. Only has so far evicted Ivanka.

GREEN: Anything With Mitchell Gold's Name On It
Mitchell Gold is the out cofounder of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Home Furnishings. The company is based in North Carolina, which passed one of the nation's most anti-LGBT laws this year. Gold was one of 100 leaders who signed a letter opposing House Bill 2, delivered to Gov. Pat McCrory in hopes that the legislation could be repealed. Gold and his husband have previously put their support behind creating an LGBT museum in Washington, D.C. Gold has pointed out that HB 2 is bad from a business standpoint as well as a humanitarian one. "The big problem is for recruiting," he said in a TV interview. "When you want to recruit talent, creative talent, they really take a second look whether or not they want to come to a state like North Carolina now that has this kind of exclusionary legislation. It's not inclusion at all, and when these guys talk about inclusion, they are talking out of both sides of [their] mouth."

GREEN: Buy Those Season Passes
The NBA and the NCAA both pulled games out of North Carolina in protest of the state's anti-LGBT law, House Bill 2. The NCAA pulled seven championship games out of the state, while the NBA pulled its All-Star Game, which was scheduled to be played in Charlotte. North Carolina has lost hundreds of millions of dollars from businesses that have refused to be associated with the state because of its anti-LGBT law. Though this is a step forward for the NBA, the league does not have a single out player on any team roster. Jason Collins, who came out while he was in the league, retired shortly after his announcement. College basketball star Derrick Gordon says he was not drafted by an NBA team because he is an out gay man. Here's to hoping we'll soon have someone to root for.

GREEN: Ignore the Pepsi Rumors
PepsiCo made news last year when it featured actor Jussie Smollett in a commercial for its flagship brand, Pepsi. It was the first time an out gay black man served as a spokesman for the company. In 2009, the American Family Association, a right-wing organization, called for a boycott of the company because it had donated a combined $1 million to the Human Rights Campaign and Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Recently some Trump supporters called for a boycott, alleging that CEO Indra Nooyi had said she didn't want their business; it turned out she had never said any such thing. In a post-election conference, however, she did decry violence against women, and said, "The election is over. I think we should mourn, for those of us who supported the other side. But we have to come together and life has to go on." PepsiCo has a perfect 100 score in the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index.

YELLOW: Dump Trump Hasn't Come Here Yet
If you want that vaunted billionaire look, The Donald offers a limited list of places where you can still buy his clothing or home furnishings line. Amazon, Sears, HSN and were all called out by the #GrabYourWallet campaign for selling Trump's wares and helping put money in his pocket. Then there's Perfumania, where you can smell like "Success" or an "Empire." (Those are the actual names of President-elect Trump's cologne.) Maybe you're willing to give these businesses a grace period to figure out how they ought to respond when faced with an anti-equality agenda. Or, maybe you've noted that Amazon is on the list despite being owned by Jeff Bezos, the pro-equality owner of the Washington Post. More often than most, the Post has broken big stories about Trump because of its investigations. We're waiting to see if "Dump Trump" is on its way before inauguration day.

YELLOW: Slow Down on Shopping Where Ivanka Sells
When Ivanka Trump appeared on 60 Minutes with the rest of the First Family, her jewelry business sent a "style alert" on how you could buy the bangle she wore. Some were already clamoring to boycott her products, led by the #GrabYourWallet hashtag begun by Shannon Coulter, the marketer turned activist. Coulter lists any store (logos included above) that sends money back to Ivanka Trump by selling her myriad of products, including perfume, shoes, and yes, bangles. So far, is the only retailer to react to the boycott threat by dropping her products. Ivanka Trump's company doesn't seem to have liked that one bit. "While was an inconsequential part of our business, they were not fulfilling their end of the contract, and parting was inevitable," a spokesperson told Footwear News. So far, Zappos and haven't evicted Ivanka. Meanwhile, the Ivanka Trump brand says it's separating its social media accounts from its namesake, though that means nothing for the money she makes. It just means Ivanak Trump will have more time to sit in meetings with world leaders alongside her father, Donald Trump.

YELLOW: That Weird New Balance Story
New Balance ignited a firestorm of controversy -- literally -- when its VP of public affairs told The Wall Street Journal, "We feel things are going to move in the right direction," regarding the election of Donald Trump. The rep was referencing the Republican candidate's opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership -- a deal that could hurt the company, which manufactures its shoes in the U.S. Yet in these divisive times, any words that sound like an endorsement of Trump create an impact. Liberals began burning their sneakers on social media. One member of the alt-right declared New Balance "the official shoes of white people." These actions from both sides of the issue forced New Balance to release a statement declaring it "does not tolerate bigotry or hate in any form." LGBT folks should take New Balance at its word but tread carefully in the short term. Some may misinterpret your wearing the shoes as a political statement.

Hey, there are queer people who like NASCAR! But whether they should is another issue -- the head of the racing organization endorsed national nightmare Donald Trump months ago. Since then, the company has gone out of its way to claim NASCAR CEO David France speaks only for himself, not NASCAR writ large. Hmm, OK. You'd think France would be careful to not ostracize any potential new fans, as NASCAR has experienced a "significant dropoff in crowds and TV audience this season," the Orlando Sentinel reports.

YELLOW: National Enquirer
You should definitely think twice before picking up the National Enquirer and not just because of its sleazy, mostly untrue celebrity coverage. The tabloid has long had a gushing love affair with the Donald, ever since David Pecker, chairman of the rag's publisher, struck up a friendship with Trump in the '90s (he worked on the failed Trump Style mag). The affection ramped up during the election, with a slew of negative stories on Hillary Clinton and Trump's GOP challengers. Then the Enquireroddly endorsed Trump after not endorsing a candidate during its entire 90-year run. Even more oddness: The Enquirer held its 90th-anniversary celebration at a Trump building in New York, and TheWall Street Journalreported that the tabloid paid six figures to buy the rights to a negative Trump story -- he allegedly had an affair with a beauty queen -- just to kill it.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship boasts several out competitors. Notably, Amanda Nunes made history earlier this year as the mixed martial arts sport's first out champion, when she won the women's bantamweight title. However, UFC's president, Dana White, raised eyebrows when he became an early supporter of Donald Trump's presidential campaign. White attributed his endorsement to Trump's history of backing the organization. Feelings about the election results are mixed among the fighters. As out compeitior Liz Carmouche remarked after the election, "It's a crazy world that we live in, that you can almost buy your way to the top... I'm going to hope to the side of optimism."

YELLOW: Stores in Trump Buildings
Some retailers have the misfortune of being located in a Donald Trump property. In Trump Tower in New York City, this includes Niketown and a Gucci flagship store. Many are petitioning these companies to move their locations in protest of the president-elect. Niketown's lease is up for renewal in 2017, so it has that option. However, even for willing shoppers, it may be difficult to physically access these stores at present. Protesters have deterred many shoppers from entering the building as well as neighboring Fifth Avenue stores like Tiffany & Co., Prada, and Giorgio Armani. Be prepared to drop one of these names to get past the police barricade -- as well as enduring the icy stares of protesters.

YELLOW: Whatever the Ricketts Family Owns
A lot of Chicagoans, including many LGBT ones, were thrilled when the Cubs played in the World Series for the first time since 1945 and won it for the first time since 1908. But maybe it's not such a good idea to enter the "friendly confines," to use the locals' description, of Wrigley Field anymore. Several members of the Ricketts family, Cubs owners since 2009, were major donors to Trump's presidential campaign. In the Republican primaries, they opposed him, even funding a political action committee aimed at stopping him, but once he emerged as the party's nominee, they got on board. They donated $1.25 million to a pro-Trump super PAC and an affiliated nonprofit organization, the Chicago Sun-Times notes. Todd Ricketts was an Illinois delegate to the Republican National Convention for Trump, and he's been interviewed for a job in the administration. Whether or not you give a pass to the Cubs, you might be more tough on financial services company TD Ameritrade, founded by Joe Ricketts, Todd's father. But remember you can't choose your family. There is a Democrat in the Ricketts family: Laura Ricketts, daughter of Joe and sister of Todd. Laura, a lesbian, was a big supporter of Hillary Clinton. So was a Cubs executive, club president Theo Epstein, who before joining Chicago's north side team was known for guiding another storied baseball franchise, the Boston Red Sox, to a World Series championship after a long drought.

RED: Trump
Since our president-elect puts his name on everything, it's usually not hard to know which hotels, golf courses, perfumes, or clothing to skip. That is, unless you want to send him millions of dollars to spend on a self-funded reelection campaign that's also powered by the Trump brand of xenophobia, racism and division. It should be obvious: If you play golf, don't do it at Trump's courses. Within the U.S., they are located in Miami, Jupiter, and Palm Beach, Fla.; the Hudson Valley, Westchester, and Ferry Point, N.Y.; Bedminster and Colts Neck, N.J.; Charlotte, N.C.; Washington, D.C. (two); Los Angeles; and Philadelphia (actually, just across the state line in Jersey). Trump also has courses in Aberdeen and Turnberry, Scotland; Doonbeg, Ireland; and two in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. To avoid forgetting any, you can keep track of them here. A better option if you enjoy the sport: Many cities large and small have nice municipal courses, affordable and open to all.

Another easy one: Do not stay at a Trump hotel. In the U.S., avoid Trump International Hotel Washington, in D.C.; Trump National Doral Miami; Trump International Hotel Waikiki; Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago; Trump International Hotel Las Vegas; Trump International Hotel and Tower New York and Trump SoHo New York; and Albemarle Estate at Trump Winery in Virginia. In Canada, don't stay at Trump International Hotel and Tower Vancouver or Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto. Bypass Trump Rio de Janeiro Hotel in Brazil and Trump International Hotel and Tower Panama. Across the pond, find accommodations other than Trump International Golf Links and Hotel in Doonbeg, Ireland, or MacLeod House and Lodge at Trump International Golf Links Scotland and Trump Turnberry, also in Scotland. For luxury hotel alternatives, there are plenty of hospitality companies with perfect scores in the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index, such as Hyatt, Kimpton, Marriott, and Starwood. Also, don't buy anything with Trump's name on it, including products from the Donald J. Trump Collection, Trump Home, Trump Books, Trump Natural Spring Water, and Trump Fragrance, which we imagine smells pretty bad, and don't use his real estate brokerage company or rent space in his office or residential buildings. You can find a listing of all the Trump brands here.

The Trump organization surprised many by announcing this fall that the company was launching a new brand of hotels that would not bear the Trump name, but instead would be called Scion. "Scion is the rare -- and possibly singular -- venture of the Trump commercial empire that does not wear the blustering patriarch's name like a badge," Slatereported in October. Scion hostelries, according to the company, will be designed to appeal to millennials, and most will be conversions of existing properties. Oddly, the press release announcing the launch of Scion has vanished from the internet, so further details are scant. Just avoid any hotel with the Scion name.

RED: Kushner Is the Same as Trump
Kushner owns some residential and commercial properties in desirable locations, such as Manhattan's Fifth Avenue and SoHo and Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood, plus many others along the eastern seaboard. But please, don't move in there; the company is owned by Jared Kushner, husband of Ivanka Trump and son-in-law of the Donald. Kushner played a key role in his father-in-law's presidential campaign, which is sufficient reason to boycott his properties; you can find out more about them here. He is also a major force on the transition team and may end up with a spot in the Trump administration. He came to head the company after his father, Charles Kushner, went to prison for two years after striking a plea deal on charges brought in 2004, which included tax evasion, witness tampering, and campaign finance violations. By the way, Jared Kushner also owns the New York Observer -- so consider that when deciding where to get your news.

RED: Paris Hilton Wants to Be Trump
While promoting her latest fragrance on the Australian show The Project, Paris Hilton revealed that she voted for Donald Trump. That's so not hot. Her reason is that "I've known him since I'm a little girl." Also, Trump provided a ringing endorsement for her 2004 book Confessions of an Heiress. Can't fault her for brand loyalty. But LGBT folks have their own loyalties to think of. Avoid Paris Hilton products like the plague.

RED: Hobby Lobby Doesn't Like You
You probably already knew you didn't want to shop at Hobby Lobby, which is closely held by a family of conservative Christians and objected to the Obama administration's directive that its employee insurance plan should cover all medically approved forms of contraception. CEO David Green once said that Trump was unqualified to be president and scary to boot, and he endorsed Marco Rubio early in the Republican primary season. However, when Trump won the nomination, Green came over. In a commentary for USA Today in September, he cited the Supreme Court as his reason for supporting Trump, saying the nation is "just one judge away from losing our religious freedom." He continued, "America's foundation of religious liberty is already at risk. With Hillary Clinton as president, our foundation will surely crumble. For Americans who value freedom of religion, we must elect a president who will support a Supreme Court that upholds not only this freedom, but all that have emanated from it. That president is Donald Trump." The rest of us are not so sure he'll uphold our freedoms.

RED: Uline, Uline, Uline
Liz Uihlein, president of Wisconsin-based shipping and packaging company Uline Corp., was a member of the Trump Victory Committee, an important fundraising operation for the mogul's presidential candidacy. She and her husband, Richard Uihlein, previously supported Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in his short-lived presidential bid. They have also donated to lots of Tea Party candidates and far-right organizations. Liz Uihlein regularly sends out newsletters to employees and customers denouncing government regulations and singing the praises of Fox News. So there's plenty of reason to avoid this company, which primarily serves other businesses. Two years ago, one client, graphic novel publisher Oni Press of Portland, Ore., withdrew its business from Uline because of the company's support of Family-PAC, an ultraconservative, anti-LGBT, antichoice group based in Illinois. So when you're shipping, remember that FedEx and United Parcel Service have good, although not perfect, scores on the HRC Corporate Equality Index. And there is always the good old U.S. Postal Service -- federal antidiscrimination orders are in place for now!

RED: You've Got Better Options Than Yuengling
Several gay bars in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., boycotted Yuengling beer after Richard "Dick" Yuengling Jr., the owner of the company, announced his support for Trump. Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims, the first out gay legislator in the state, asked gay-owned businesses in Philadelphia to stop serving Yuengling because of its Trump connection. "One of the most prevalent brands in the gayborhood and in LGBT bars across the Commonwealth is using our own dollars to back a person and an ideology that says that our lives ... matter less," he said via his Facebook page. "More to the point, those dollars are being used right now to give power to his bigoted messages attacking our black and brown neighbors and all of the women in our lives." Then there's the more complicated case of MillerCoors chairman Pete Coors, who hosted a fundraiser for Trump this year, but whose Miller brand doesn't appear on the same page. In 2005, Coors merged with Canadian brewer Molson, then a few years later with Miller, long an LGBT-friendly company. Now parent company SABMiller, based in London, is planning to merge with Anheuser-Busch InBev, and the Department of Justice will let this mega-merger go through if SABMiller divests itself of all Miller and Coors brands. We'll see where Pete Coors' influence ends up.

RED: Say Not To This Chicken
Chick-fil-A has a history of being anti-LGBT. In 2012, the CEO of the company, Dan Cathy, called marriage equality an invitation to "God's judgment on our nation." Cathy has yet to rescind that statement, despite criticism from many LGBT organizations. Chick-fil-A's charitable organization, the WinShape Foundation, has previously donated to political organizations that oppose LGBT rights. The chicken sandwich chain has in the past cosponsored a conference that opposes same-sex marriage. Chick-fil-A has a 0 rating in the Human Rights Campaign's Buyers Guide. And it hasn't done anything pro-LGBT to change its reputation.

RED: ABC Supply
Diane Hendricks, cofounder and chair of building materials wholesaler ABC Supply, was a vice chair of the Trump Victory Committee, which raised funds for him and the Republican National Committee. She also almost single-handedly financed the Reform America Fund, a super PAC that opposed Clinton and Russ Feingold, the Wisconsin Democrat who unsuccessfully tried to reclaim his U.S. Senate seat from Ron Johnson. In addition, she has been a major ally of and donor to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. She's the richest woman in Wisconsin but has often been able to avoid paying state income taxes, notes the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Now she's serving on Trump's inaugural committee.


RED: The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino
We won't deny the property is lovely, but the Venetian in Las Vegas should be off-limits to equality-minded people. The hotel's owner, billionaire Sheldon Adelson has taken advantage of our country's lax campaign finance laws and dumped hundreds of millions on Republican -- and, often, anti-equality -- candidates. Adelson gave a massive $25 million to Donald Trump this year and a reportedly $65 million in total to GOP candidates this year.


RED: The Beverly Hills Hotel
There are plenty of places to see and be seen in Los Angeles, so one can surely find a different spot to elegantly sip an iced tea than The Beverly Hills Hotel. The "Pink Palace" is owned by the Sultan of Brunei, who recently imposed Sharia Law on his people. For the uninitiated, Sharia Law includes tenets that allow for the stoning of gays and lesbians and the public flogging of women. Ever since the sultan moved to initiate the horrifying policies two years ago, his hotels have been boycotted by LGBT activists; The Beverly Hills Hotel being the most notable property. Out activist James Duke Mason held a protest outside the BH Hotel last month to remind people that Sharia law still stands in Brunei, and so does the boycott.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories Editors