This article was published on June 3rd, 2021
Pride Month honors the dedication of LGBTQ+ people that work behind the scenes every day throughout the year, often to little fanfare and financial support.
With Pride month in full effect, the LGBTQ+ community is calling out rainbow or ‘pink washing’, in which corporations jump on the Pride bandwagon proclaiming support and using the popular catchphrases (‘equality’, ‘love is love’,) but the support becomes fleeting once the month is over and companies are in search of the next trend to turn a profit.
Where are these businesses during the rest of the year? It’s Pride 365. It’s not Pride day, Pride week, Pride month. The fact is that cities host Pride throughout the entire year – Pride events occur not only in the summer, but also in the fall, including winter Pride events, and early spring events.
The community is front and center EVERY day.
Members of the LGBTQ+ community are now in a debate on how companies can transcend above performative support into authentic allyship that recognizes the importance of the struggle every day of the year when it really matters. There have been several reports on tha machinations of companies both major and minor that offer fleeting support that only scratches the surface of the many issues affecting LGBTQ+ people. Particularly jarring is the fact that companies like AT&T and UPS have previously pledged support for the community, only to turn around and donate millions to anti-LGBTQ political action committees.
Companies that release products that coincide with Pride month often times do little if anything for the LGBTQ+ community they are generating millions from, a form of exploitation that groups are now calling out in the mainstream media. For many businesses, voicing support – whether fact or fiction – changes the public’s general perception potentially about a product, and thus their bottom line. It has become a loose-lipped utterance seen in pledges to campaigns like Black Lives Matter or #MeToo that has had few repercussions.
Marketing firms have recently reported findings by researching over 100 companies involved with Pride campaigns that only 64% donated to relevant charities, with approximately 15 of those companies scoring under 80% on the Human Rights Corporate Equality Index, primarily because of inadequate equality policies. The reasoning behind this is simple – the majority of these companies fail to recognize the struggles of LGBTQ+ throughout the calendar year, and not just during one summer month that glosses over the dire straits of many queer communities.
The findings also supported the notion that PR companies have one agenda in mind when approaching Pride organizations – to showcase their brands, products, and services without providing grants, allocating funding, or launching paid LGBTQ+ campaigns. The lack of inauthenticity has reared its head and no amount of social media posts with (insert brand here) will change perceptions about accountability nad the ramifications of empty mission statements.
How to show year-round LGBTQ support
Businesses that are sincere in showing support for the LGBTQ+ community have a wealth of information to access, but the following are general tips to take into consideration:
- Donations to reputable organizations that educate on discrimination, provide counseling and crisis services, and provide assistance to at-risk members of the community
- Protect the rights of LGBTQ+ employees in the workplace, ensuring they are paid equally and with the same opportunities for advancement
- Support the passing of the Equality Act in Congress to protect both employees and customers from discrimination
There are currently 28 states that lack legislation protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ employees in the workplace. With the passage of the Equality Act, the community would also suffer from less financial stress as a result of work-related issues.