The start of summer, the kickoff of festival season, and the start of the women’s World Cup – needless to say, June was a busy month and in the blink of an eye, it’s somehow already over. June was also National Pride Month and this year marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. In the late 1960’s the LGBT community faced an anti-gay legal system and had no protection against harassment and mistreatment. In 1969 police raided The Stonewall Inn, one of New York City’s only gay bars, with intent to “slap the owners with enough infractions to shut it down for good,” according to CNN. The Stonewall Inn’s clientele fought back in the form of protests over the course of a few days. Today, peaceful protests and events celebrating the LGBTQ community occur globally in June inspired by the protests at Stonewall.
As our nation has grown to better (but certainly not perfectly) include the LGBTQ community, brands have been jumping on board. Pride celebrations dominated the news and social media cycle for the last five weeks and many companies changed their logo to include a rainbow or shared company affiliated Pride events. Some highlighted LGBTQ staff in posts or shared the LGBTQ-friendly policies that they employ. While these actions including pro-Pride sentiments are certainly a step in the right direction, it’s important that corporations are held accountable for other more continuous and effective methods of support for the LGBTQ community.
Slapping a filtered logo on your profile photo raises awareness but doesn’t necessarily correlate to taking tangible steps toward a more inclusive world. In fact, it can leave the impression that your company is only featuring pro-gay sentiments during June to increase profits (as opposed to providing year-round support). Social media users took note and called out the capitalist manner that corporations were showing Pride.
What the LGBTQ community is looking for in corporations is action. I recently read an article from Forbes that outlines steps companies can take to create an environment that supports LGBTQ persons, including: making the workplace safe for all employees – which means that same-sex couples have the same benefits as heterosexual couples, training staff on diversity and recognizing your company’s biases, hiring leadership that reflects your values, providing staff with volunteer hours and making it a priority to donate to LGBTQ causes.
At the end of the day, if you’re one of the companies that slapped a rainbow logo on it and called it Pride – you’re not doing enough – consider ways your corporation can show its support for Pride throughout the year.
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