Words: Will Stroude
The new Pride edition of the Apple Watch is making a colourfully inclusive statement after incorporating black and brown stripes, as well as the colours of the transgender and non-binary flag, for the first time.
The latest version of the Apple Watch Pride Edition - an initiative first launched in 2016 to support LGBTQ causes across the US - includes a bespoke rainbow-inspired strap and interface inspired by flags that better represent the depth and breadth of the LGBTQ community.
Launched on May 17 to coincide with International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT), the Apple Watch Pride Edition Braided Solo Loop includes black and brown strips that symbolise Black and Latinx communities, in addition to those who have passed away from or are living with HIV/AIDS.
The Apple Watch Pride Edition retails at £99 and will help raise money for LGBTQ youth charity GLSEN
Meanwhile, light blue, pink, and white stripes represent transgender and nonbinary individuals.
Tim Cook, Apple’s out gay CEO, paid tribute to Black and transgender LGBTQ activists in a statement coinciding with the accessory’s release.
“Even before the events at the Stonewall Inn brought the LGBTQ+ movement to new prominence, Black, Brown, and transgender activists were key leaders in the march toward equality”, said Cook, who in 2014 became the first chief executive of a Fortune 500 company to publicly come out as gay.
Apple CEO Tim Cook
“On many fronts, Apple supports the ongoing and unfinished work of equality for diverse and intersectional communities, and we want to provide every opportunity to celebrate and honor this history during Pride season”.
This Pride season, Apple Watch will be putting its money where its mouth is by supporting LGBTQ organisations across the US including the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (IGLA), The Trevor Project, and GLSEN, a non-profit that works to ensure education is safe and affirming for all students.
Other charities being supported by Apple include Encircle, Equality North Carolina, Equality Texas, Gender Spectrum, GLSEN, Human Rights Campaign, PFLAG National, the National Center for Transgender Equality, SMYAL, and The Trevor Project in the US, as well as ILGA World internationally.
Dominique Morgan, the first Black trans woman and formerly incarcerated person to sit on GLSEN’s national board, tells Attitude that financial support from Apple will be invaluable for helping increasingly under-fire LGBTQ students.
“These sort of relationships partnerships are powerful in ways that you can’t even explain,” says Morgan, who has also posed for the Apple Watch Pride Edition’s campaign images.
Dominique Morgan, the first Black trans woman to sit on GLSEN's national board, appears in the Apple Watch Pride Edition campaign
“When you look at corporations like Apple that have a sort of power and influence to open hearts and minds to bring new information new ideas to people, it’s so important for those entities to understand the experiences of the most oppressed in our society.”
The award-winning artist and activist goes on: “Looking at the work we’re doing with GLSEN it’s very clear that I young people in our society are being faced with barriers to leading their own lives… and engaging in the work of building their own futures.”
Morgan is also full of praise for Apple’s decision to represent Black, Latinx and transgender communities in its choice of colour scheme for this year’s Apple Watch Pride Edition.
The new Apple Watch Pride Edition includes colours representation Black, Latinx and trans communities for the first time
“As someone who is 39 years-old - I came out when I was 13 - I’ve witnessed in my lifetime the evolution of the colours of the [Pride] flag”, she says.
“Our queer community is being identified and recognized [and] I think it’s just so important for everyone to see themselves.
“A colour theme is something simple, but the beautiful part about something being simple is that it’s an easy answer so seeing colours that represent Black, Brown, trans and non-conforming communities.
“[It] makes makes me stand up taller and makes my head look up higher.”
Amid a raft of state-led bills in the US designed to bar trans students from participating in sports teams that correspond to their gender identity, Morgan’s message is clear.
“We need to be informing folks. We need to be engaging our leaders, our elected officials [and] we need to be making sure that young people are equipped with the information so they can defend themselves.”
“We need to make sure that we are affirming young trans and queer [people]. They deserve safe, affirming spaces that make them understand that we love them we appreciate them.”
The Apple Watch Pride Edition’s clasp and buckle-free strap, which is made from stretchable recycled yarn interwoven with silicon threads, is available to order now for £99 from Apple and will be available in selected stores from 25 May.
The watch's matching Pride interface will be made available to download soon as part of a software update.