good clean fun

Dr. Bronner’s is officially the purest, queerest soap company out there and we love to see it

Dr Bronner, CEO, soap, David Bronner, they pronouns, LGBTQ, queer
David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner’s Soap

If you’ve ever been to a natural food store, chances are you’ve seen Dr. Bronner’s Original 18-in-1 Soap and its iconic label filled with woo spiritual teachings about love, unity, and the “Moral ABCs” in teeny tiny print.

The company — founded in 1948 by Emanuel Bronner, a third-generation soap maker whose German-Jewish parents were murdered in the Holocaust — is actually a family-owned business, and its CEO David Bronner recently came out as neither completely straight nor male.

“For some time, I’ve thought it would be a good idea to ‘come out’ and celebrate that I’ve considered myself ‘about 25% girl’ for quite a while,” Bronner wrote in a blog post on National Coming Out Day, noting that they use he/him and they/them pronouns.

“I realized that I wasn’t ‘straight,’ ‘gay,’ or ‘man’ or ‘woman’ — but incarnate soul here to serve and get down, and that my toxic insecure aggressive masculinity was doing violence to my own feminine nature and soul,” they added.

Bronner said they first realized their gender fluidity during “a dramatic LSD and MDMA mediated initiation into spirit world in Amsterdam in a gay trance club” in the winter of 1995. They have since celebrated this part of themselves at the Burning Man psychedelic art festival by “cross-dressing” and “expressing [their] androgynous nature and inner woman.”

“While I identify as ‘relatively straight/masculine’ I also feel ‘relatively queer and feminine,'” they said. They also made sure to specify that they believe everyone exists on a gender spectrum and they don’t necessarily equate homosexuality with femininity.

“Many gay men and straight women rock a stronger masculine energy than I do,” they wrote.

The CEO said they had been inspired by their “genderfluid bi wife Mia,” their non-binary adult child Maya, a “non-binary, kink-positive, and sexual-in-all-directions poly friend” named Ariel Vegosen, and a now deceased “trans Black soul brother” named Kaleb Vaughn.

Bronner noted that the company has supported the genderqueer and trans camp “Gender Blender” and the “Queerdome” at Burning Man and also the nonprofit group Gender Illumination for many years.

“[My friend] associates the Divine Queer archetype also with the Trickster archetype which disrupts our socially constructed realities and ego identities,” Bronner wrote. “In some sense our soul is mercurial and queer, manifesting in so many different ways and modes in and to us.”

If all this sounds a bit woo, it makes sense considering that the company’s soap labels proclaim, “Absolute cleanliness is Godliness! … Full truth our God, half-truth our enemy, hard work our salvation, unity our goal, free speech our weapon.”

But the company also offers more than just spiritual advisements on its soap labels. It regularly invests in regenerative organic agriculture, fair trade, drug policy reform, wage equality, animal advocacy, and other peaceful qualities on “Spaceship Earth.” It also pays its CEO only five times as much as its lowest-paid employee makes, something few other companies do.


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