When actor, entrepreneur and venture partner, Kylo Freeman, founded For Them, their mission was simply to solve a common and life-saving challenge for the Trans community, of which they are a member.
“This company was born out of a frustration of mine of just not having the products and services that I needed as a transgender responsive person,” Freeman tells Adweek about the company they founded, which makes chest compression garments known as binders, and assorted wellness products to serve the unique needs of the community, who often resort to painful and dangerous methods to physically present their chosen identities without surgery.
Now, Freeman is expanding that mission to include advocating for LGBTQ+ rights as a whole; using For Them’s most recent “Drag Is Divine” campaign to inspire allies to join the fight against anti-drag legislation, which has currently passed in 13 states. Funds raised through the sales and events attached to the campaign will directly fund Drag Story Hour and the ACLU Drag Defense.
Freeman stars in the campaign alongside a drag queen as a modern-day “Adam and Eve,” featuring taglines such as “So hot they started a culture war for us,” and “Drag is divine: It needs no intervention.” The billboards and subway ads are currently running in New York, Los Angeles and London—all of which are considered “ally cities” that embrace and celebrate LGBTQ+ culture and host annual Pride celebrations, which Freeman tells Adweek was intentional.
“These are three pretty privileged cities that have lots of allies in [them], that I think skew on the side of, I hope, being a little bit more liberal and understanding of the community and being empathetic towards who we are and probably have queer friends and queer family members [that] can rally together.” They explained that the campaign’s goal is to raise capital to expand their reach and resources into cities where queer, trans, and nonbinary members are under attack and currently lack much-needed support.
“We don’t want to be the people that go to the states where queer people are really, really struggling and asking them for things. I think they have been asked enough,” said Freeman.
The brand traditionally uses grassroots marketing and tapping directly into the community for feedback on existing products and suggestions for new SKUs and has only done smaller campaigns centered around the product.
But Freeman and Em Chadwick, the brand’s coo, explained to Adweek that while the two-year-old brand has been very careful with how they allot their budget—choosing mostly to focus on product and tech innovations—the current climate made the timing right to invest in sending a message to the LGBTQ+ community, its allies and detractors on a larger scale.