With so many brands jumping on the rainbow bandwagon every June, it’s not surprising that the LGBTQ+ community may find some marketing practices as opportunistic, or even worse, hypocritical. Last year, Popular Information, an advertising-free online newsletter, called out 25 rainbow-flag waving corporations that donated a combined $10 million to anti-gay politicians. Understanding pride month is a good first step to ensure that your brand is in synch with the history and meaning behind this important event for the LGBT+ community.
Here’s a refresher on the origins and significance of Pride Month.
In the United States, the lack of rights and protections for LGBTQ+ community led to a gay rights movement beginning in the 1940s. The U.S. movement gained serious traction after the well-known Stonewall riots, which began in June of 1969. This series of spontaneous demonstrations in Greenwich Village, NYC was in response to police raids at gay bars but more importantly, it spawned a much larger celebration of pride and a fight for rights. A year after the Stonewall riots, the first gay pride marches took place in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. Year after year, more cities joined until pride month became the world-wide celebration that it is today, and for good reason. Although many LQBTQ+ rights have been established in the U.S. and other progressive countries, we still struggle to provide equal rights.
Yes, waive that pride flag — and back it up with year-round support.
If you’re planning to “fly the rainbow pride flag” in your company’s marketing, recognize that it’s about more than an annual celebration of diversity – it’s the symbol of a very real fight for equal rights and acceptance that goes on 365 days a year. LGBTQ+ rights and awareness of discrimination play an important role in our hiring practices and business culture. And while diversity and awareness in our marketing practices have come a long way in the past decade, it’s important to keep the momentum of recent progress.
Parting note: PLEASE support the Equality Act which would protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in their places of work, homes, schools, and other public accommodations. The good news is it has passed the House, but it desperately needs support in the Senate in order to pass.