Pride Month is an opportunity for corporations to show their true colors. Every June, a seemingly relentless wave of rainbows makes its way through many facets of everyday life. All different types of families can be seen in TV commercials, marketing emails share Pride Month promotions, and it’s hard to walk into a store without running into a display of colorful apparel and accessories. While it’s great to see corporations embracing and celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community in these ways, it’s important to ensure that these displays are backed by meaningful support. Anyone can sell a rainbow fanny pack – but did a gay or lesbian designer create it? Is a portion of the proceeds going to an organization that supports transgender youth? Does the retailer have HR practices that promote diversity and inclusion?
It used to be much harder to differentiate between companies who were just riding that rainbow wave to make a few bucks and those who actually support and champion the LGBTQIA+ community. Luckily, many corporations have found ways to be more visible allies, and we can only hope that this trend continues. A few companies supporting pride month that really seem to understand what it means to be an ally include:
- Target recently announced not one, but TWO collaborations with queer-owned brands. With these new TomboyX and Humankind partnerships, Target will now feature gender-affirming clothing in their stores, not just rainbow clothing. The TomboyX line will include compression tops (a less restrictive type of chest binder that helps flatten breast tissue to make it less visible), packing underwear, bras, and boyshorts in sizes S-4X. Humankind will offer a variety of swim products, including trunks, tops, and unisuits.
- Skittles will partner with GLAAD during Pride month for the third year in a row. In previous years, Skittles has removed their signature rainbow during Pride month to call attention to the LGBTQ+ community. This year, they will also feature packages with colorful designs by LGBTQ+ artists. The packages will also have QR codes that link to more information about the artists, their work, and their inspiration. Skittles will donate $1 for each Pride pack purchased to GLAAD to help with their work accelerating acceptance of the community and combatting anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination.
- Oreo is continuing their partnership with PFLAG National, an organization that supports LGBTQ+ people, their parents and families, and allies for the third year. This year’s campaign, called #LifelongAlly, aims to lend a megaphone to the community, shine a spotlight on LGBTQ+ people, and empower allies. It includes a short film The Note by award-winning filmmaker Alice Wu, best known for her LGBTQ+ films The Half of It and Saving Face. The film tells a coming out story, that beautifully illustrates how coming out is a lifelong process and that LGBTQ+ people need lifelong allies. Oreo is also making a $500,000 donation to PFLAG National to support their important work.
- Apple just released Apple Watch Pride bands and faces and supports several advocacy organizations.
- Converse’s Pride collection this year took inspiration from LGBTQIA+ artists and donates to local and international organizations.
- LEGO just launched a new Lego set that celebrates diversity, partners with several organizations, including Stonewall and others working toward inclusivity in the workplace.
- United is partnering with Chase and Visa to offer their MileagePlus cardmembers bonus miles for donating to LGBTQIA+ organizations during June, was recognized as a Stonewall Ambassador in 2019, and works with an internal business resource group to advocate for LGBTQIA+ employees.
Pride Month is an important time because it promotes visibility and encourages acceptance, which are luxuries that have not always been afforded to the LGBTQIA+ community. Much progress has been made, but there is still so much to be done in the US and around the world – work that requires collaboration between members of the community and organizations that aim to uplift them. As great as it would be to see the entire world covered in rainbows, what really matters is when corporations who have the resources to impact change step up and show up to make the world a better place for the LGBTQIA+ community. Those who are just looking to take advantage of the rainbow wave and sell a few colorful fanny packs might end up getting swept away instead.
C+R and its CultureBeat® division’s mission is to provide brands with the knowledge they need to deeply know the LGBTQIA+ cohort and the intricacies of their motivations, drivers, and challenges. We join this community in celebrating Pride Month and the rainbows that come with it!