I already knew that the people working at LUSH were angels sent from heaven, but what I didn’t know was that they had the power to predict the future…
In late June of this year the American government made the historic decision to allow same-sex couples nationwide to marry the same way as their different-sex counterparts1. This came at the tail end of a long and grueling battle of love versus hatred and love versus prejudice, and in the end love won out (as it always, always should!). I was out volunteering with a group of friends when the news came, and we all jumped and yelled in joy for our American friends when we found out (it has been legal in Canada since 20052). The struggle for LGBTQ+ equality isn’t over, but the community has passed a giant milestone thanks to the Supreme Court’s move.
Now, would you be surprised to hear that LUSH Cosmetics launched its latest gay rights campaign just days before the decision happened? I’m not surprised at all, because there are few more forward thinking companies in the cosmetics world than them. They were ahead of the curve to partner with Fin Free, an anti shark-finning organization, way before the city of Toronto ever thought to officially ban the ingredient in restaurants. They were years ahead of the competition for carrying vegan and organic products, not to mention how everything is fairly-sourced and employees are paid fairly when in many other companies that’s still not a reality.
The new campaign, called #GayIsOkay, centered around these golden bars of soap scented with the LUSH’s Love perfume (I believe it’s the same scent as the Phoenix Rising bath bomb), a product that came out in 2011 and was since discontinued. The purpose of the campaign? To raise awareness that despite the recent victory and Pride celebrations homosexuality remains a crime in 76 countries and punishable by death in many of them3.
It frustrates me to no ends that the basic human need for love is denied for so many people across the globe. Children are being brought up thinking it’s better to kill themselves than to be who they are, and that’s messed up. A single life lost is one too many.
Editor’s note: the photos in this post are from Toronto Pride 2011 using my old 2MP camera, as this year the rain decided to squash my dreams of taking any decent photos. My apologies!
Activists are doing all they can, and it’ll probably be a fight that will take many more years. LUSH created the Love Fund this year to help, distributing the entirety of its Love soap proceeds ($5.95 each) to grassroots charity groups around the world4. It will be interesting to see reports in the future of where the money has gone and what has been accomplished. You’ll notice this is not the first time the company has stood up for LGBTQ+ rights: last year, amidst Russia’s strict anti-gay legislation, they stood up with a pink triangle campaign that sought to reclaim the symbol used in WWII to identify gay individuals5. At the time of writing there are quite a few Russian LUSH shops, and I’m unclear if the Love soap made it to them.
The soap is practically secondary to the campaign itself, a tiny bonus for donating to a great cause. When my high-school’s Gay Straight Alliance took a trip to Pride Toronto we stopped by LUSH in the Eaton Centre to pick up a bar each, and I’ve coveted mine since.
The first thing to note is that this thing is GLITTERY! As I try out dozens of soaps every month I have to slice slivers to try at a time, and when I cut into Love it was the most beautiful thing I’ve seen all week. It’s like somebody froze the Michael Kors Liquid Shimmer Dry Oil Spray and sold it to me as soap (I recognize I’ve been talking about that product a lot lately, I promise I will eventually bite the bullet and order it). The smell in water is of lemon tea, but after it dries it leaves a cinnamon and apple fragrance on the skin that very much brings to mind Phoenix. What a delightful combination! I was also pleased to find I wasn’t reaching for hand lotion after using Love, which was the case with the Christmas soaps I tried last month. Not the most hydrating of soaps, but it’ll do in a jiffy. The most astonishing thing about Love was how little lather it kicked up, which was very disappointing.
Verdict: Fly your rainbow flags high, LUSHies, for we are proud to be ourselves here at Nosegasm.com. Gay, straight, or anywhere in between, we celebrate you for being exactly the person you’re meant to be. I think every company should strive to be as politically active as LUSH about the things that matter, and hope they bring this soap out annually the way they do Shark Fin, so you can see what all the hype was about. In the meantime, you can find selfies of the lucky ones who managed to swipe a bar under the hashtag #GayIsOkay. Share the love, my friends, share the love!
1ProCon: 50 States with Legal Gay Marriage
2Toronto Star: How Canada led the way on same-sex marriage
5LUSH: We Believe in Gay Rights
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