Calvin Klein’s coronavirus outreach targets LGBTQ organizations

Calvin Klein’s usual Pride month promotions throughout June have this year morphed into its COVID-19 response.

In recognition of the pandemic, Calvin Klein has partnered with OutRight Action International on their COVID-19 LGBTIQ Global Emergency Fund, offering financial resources to LGBTQ organizations around the world who are serving people impacted by COVID-19.

The underwear-and-more firm also recently launched #ProudInMyCalvins, a celebration of self-expression among the full spectrum of LGBTQ identities. It features photos and videos of nine talents, chosen for their unique stories, all shot by Ryan McGinley, the outsider photographer whom, in 2014, GQ called, “the most important photographer in America.”

“The theme of the campaign is taking pride in everything that makes you unique,” says McGinley. “My goal is always to create honest photos that connect to the viewer on a human level and show the subject’s power and vulnerability as human beings.”

The actor, writer and activist Chella Man is featured, as is his partner, photographer MaryV. As a deaf, genderqueer, Chinese-Jewish youth, Man found that he didn’t see himself represented in mainstream media or have role models to look up to. Together with MaryV, whose first solo exhibition will document Man’s gender transition, they have brought widespread awareness and attention to not only the trans and queer experiences, but also the experience of being disabled in the queer community.

Others include Brazilian singer and drag queen Pabllo Vittar, who says, “I never imagined myself making money with a wig on my head, but bitch, I’m here,” and trans queer model, activist and actor, Jari Jones, who says of growing up with no family support, “With no blueprint set out for us, we had to make it our own.”

The campaign also stars Mina Gerges, the Egyptian model and actor who uses his platform to advocate for LGBTQ visibility and acceptance in Middle Eastern culture, and Gia Woods, the Persian artist whose songs first served as a personal journal, and later, an outlet for coming out.

It features actor Tommy Dorfman, whose work reflects their journey as a gender-nonconforming person and focuses on telling stories that shine a light on the queer experience and finding comfort in their identity, and model and poet Reece King, who hopes to inspire others through his self-published book of poems and messages of self-care and self-love.

Finally, actor, model and activist Ama Elsesser, who uses their platform to inspire others, will also star.

“First, you have to come out to yourself. That’s the biggest thing.”

Additionally, to show financial support to all impacted by the pandemic, PVH Corp., the parent company of Calvin Klein, committed $2 million toward COVID-19 relief efforts. The money will support front-line medical workers, the fight against food insecurity, supply chain and industry relief and community resiliency.

Nonprofit grantees include several hospitals and health-care organizations, including Mount Sinai Health System, Montefiore Health System and Northwell Health in New York, plus RWJBarnabas Health and Hackensack Meridian Health in New Jersey. They’ve also sent funds to Feeding America, Coalition for the Homeless in New York City, the Food Bank of Somerset County in New Jersey and the NYC Small Business Continuity Loan Fund.

Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger also donated product in the US and around the world to support front-line health-care workers.

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