Having successfully helped to encourage major brands such as Wilko, River Island and Next to add the gender neutral title “Mx” to forms, Tom Pashby, has now set their eyes on Argos too

Its no secret that brands such as Argos wait for June to roll around before adorning their social media feeds in rainbows and pastels to show how inclusive and great they are. Ironically in one of the very few things queers and anti-queers agree on; this is often some obviously fake and performative crap. Its a cynical ploy to exploit money out of people sometimes referred to as rainbow capitalism and/or pinkwashing.

If anything, engaging in such activity is so widely criticised that I’d argue doing so was a net negative on your business. For me at least, if I see a brand engaging in rainbow capitalism and throwing up a flag once a year before moving on – I am going to remember that and then avoid buying products from them. Give me queer-led business and services instead, with great atmospheres, inclusive options and an excellent employee rights record.

One campaigner who has been pushing for Argos to do one little thing to help with that aim is Tom Pashby, journalist and non-binary, agender person who started the campaign called ‘Include Mx’. A campaign which they started because they were “just done with having to misgender myself in order to pay for goods and services”, they also remarked on how “funnily enough it was a couple of Argos deliveries” which pushed them into starting the campaign.

In a statement given to Trans Writes they said;

“Argos’ behaviour in response to the campaign has been disappointing. They send public tweets, DMs and letters saying, at best, that they’re looking into it and that they “take [my] concerns very seriously”, and at worst, saying that “there will be no further update provided”

Plenty of other similar brands have either done away with titles, included Mx already, or made the title field optional. Plenty of brands which weren’t inclusive towards people who use Mx have taken action to be more inclusive. 

What particularly stings is the fact that Argos have the trans pride colours in their logo right now and they still don’t include Mx. It’s a classic example of pink washing and it needs to be called out, having tried to engage with them quietly and giving them the opportunity to change for years.

And they’re entirely right. It is a classic example of pinkwashing and I think we should call it out. Making this extremely minor change to how their database records user details would likely take less than a few hours work. There is no excuse for having not done this, especially given the multiple attempts by campaigners like Tom, the general push for more non-binary inclusivisity in society elsewhere and the fact that by flying the pride flag during June they want you to think they are supportive.

I reached out to Argos for comment and did not receive any response.

If you’d like to find out more about the Include Mx campaign you can follow Tom Pashby here and also checkout their linktree with all their useful links here.