PRIDE / by Anji Becker

We are proud... not just proud of who we are, but also proud of the societal progress we see taking hold. The future is now, it's exciting, and through our "We Are Mortals, We Are Equal" mantra we've connected with so many people who believe the same thing. Although there will always be conservative groups in this world who want to stunt progress, it seems progress is inevitable and the evolution of the human experience continues to unfold as we become more and more accepting and connected across the globe.

Just as the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s began the process of liberating women and normalizing sex outside of marriage, our current revolution taking place in 2016 has put us on the path to eradicating the gender binary and embracing people of all different sexual orientations. Youth culture is the leader of our gender-fluid future, and they're our inspiration as a brand as well. Talking with young people today, it's clear that they don't feel quite the same amount of pressure as the previous generation when it comes to attaching a label to their gender and sexuality. They're free to experiment with their sexuality and explore different gender identities along the spectrum, in the end hopefully settling somewhere in the middle where they can meld their different experiences together into what is most meaningful for them.  

             Photo by Brian Vu. See the entire album here.

             Photo by Brian Vu. See the entire album here.

Prior to this youth-led, open-minded climate we see today, however, a lot of work was done to help change deep-rooted phobias and discrimination. PRIDE parades and festivities were one of those things that did a lot to contribute to the changing mentalities, and ultimately the change of unjust laws, and these efforts need to continue if we want to truly see the end of inequality. Yet there are always those who question: why is this necessary? One argument is that 'special' holidays and media coverage that may contribute to stereotypes actually separate marginalized groups even more, rather than helping them be included as part of the mainstream. In the long run, though, we believe that taking a firm stance on an issue of equality and officially recognizing a group of people as a nation is ultimately essential for progress for several reasons. First, as the Huffington Post explained, we have to remember that in many countries throughout the world, being gay is still a crime that comes along with a prison sentence. In this internet age of global visibility, when we come together to send a loud message our reach extends way beyond our own city. Secondly, it all comes down to education. If Black History Month or Martin Luther King Day had never been established, would new generations of future students be taught the important lessons relating to these huge milestones in our country's past? Maybe not.  

Bullett Media's recent article about Transgender Day of Visibility, by one our favorite writers Justin Moran, gets down to the root of this same question, highlighting the feelings of two non-binary performers named Dark Matter. Their frustrations are unquestionably valid: 'why do we have to become visible in order to be taken seriously?', which goes hand in hand with the underlying criticism of PRIDE celebrations... that a special day shouldn't be necessary in order to be respected. Although that's undeniably true, it seems that visibility is always the first step on the pathway towards equality. Unfortunate but true, at each bump in the road we have to push for awareness and force people to simply recognize and understand something that they may not understand or have experienced before. From there we can then expect to gradually develop welcoming and inclusive mindsets, and eventually get to the point where we see societal change and an end to hatred and unjust laws. The story of equality is a long one. Let's celebrate all the progress and never forget the work that needs to be done to change what isn't right... not just in our own community but all over the world.

If you're in LA for PRIDE, come check out performances by two of our favorite muses, Le1f and Shamir, both on Saturday June 11. In addition to making dope music, both Shamir and Le1f have sported some MORTALS on stage in the past, so we have major love for those two! WE ARE MORTALS will be hanging at the LA PRIDE festivities all weekend, and also showing some pieces from the line in live installations at LAFW's REPRISE event that will be kicking off the Pride weekend (also featuring a performance by the one and only Le1f)! REPRISE takes place Thursday, June 9th, at the W Hotel in Beverly Hills at 7:30pm.

We'll be sending big discount codes to our supporters this week to celebrate our PRIDE, so if you haven't signed up for our email list yet do it now so you don't miss out!