June is known as Pride Month, a time for celebrating the LGBTQ+ community and their contributions to society. It's a great time for people to come together, show support for those who identify as LGBTQ+ and to advocate for their rights. However, as the commercialisation of Pride Month grows, so does the phenomenon of "rainbow washing."
Rainbow washing is when companies and brands use the rainbow symbol by changing their logo to the colours of a rainbow to show support for the LGBTQ+ community. Usually failing to make any significant changes within the company to support employees or the community who identify as such. It's important for companies and brands to show support but changing a logo isn’t going to make any real difference to the community.
Using the rainbow symbol without making any changes is a form of performative activism, where companies and brands use the LGBTQ+ community for their own financial gain without actually doing anything to support the community. To truly support the community, companies and brands must take action to create a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ employees and to support LGBTQ+ organisations. We mention great ways to show true Allyship, so keep reading 👀
How to Support the LGBTQ+ Community Beyond Pride Month
To support the LGBTQ+ community beyond Pride Month, there are several things that individuals, companies, and brands can do.
Firstly, individuals can educate themselves on LGBTQ+ issues and become allies for the community. This can involve learning about LGBTQ+ history, listening to LGBTQ+ voices, and understanding the struggles that the community still faces.
Secondly, companies and brands can take concrete actions to support the LGBTQ+ community. This can involve creating a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ employees, supporting LGBTQ+ organisations, and using their platform to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. It's important for companies and brands to move beyond performative activism and take meaningful action to support the LGBTQ+ community.
Lastly, it's important to support LGBTQ+ organisations and charities. These organisations provide vital support and resources for the community and rely on donations to continue their work. This support can involve donating time, money, or resources to LGBTQ+ organisations and charities.
Pride Month is a time for celebration, but it's also a time to reflect on the struggles faced by the LGBTQ+ community. The issue of rainbow washing highlights the commercialisation of Pride Month and the need for companies and brands to take meaningful action to support the LGBTQ+ community. For information on how you or your company can become an inclusive employer or make a difference that has long lasting effects, check out the below organisations
The largest global business community of LGBTQ+ professionals, graduates, inclusive employers and anyone who believes in workplace equality. They empower the LGBTQ+ community by offering individual members a safe space where they can connect with inclusive employers, find jobs, mentors, professional events, e-learning/training, news.
Advocating and campaigning that drives positive change in public attitudes and public policy. They ensure LGBTQ+ people can thrive throughout our lives by building deep, sustained change programmes with the institutions that have the biggest impact, whether it’s learning, working, praying or playing sport. Making sure that the world hears and learns from LGBTQ+ communities, and our work is grounded in evidence and expertise.
Supporting young people aged 16 - 25 in the UK who are facing or experiencing homelessness or living in a hostile environment. They offer advice, support and solutions for safe home, employment, education and training.
Be an Ally
- Start simple but effectively - learn basic terms, pronouns and inclusive language
- Stay informed - educate yourself on current issues or celebrations. Ask questions and do your own research
- Speak up! - Yes, okay, it may feel awkward to begin with but its the easiest and most effective way to be a true ally. If you hear someone say something thats not right or is offensive, stand up for the community! There is so much power in this simple act.
- Donate your time - Volunteer at a charity or community space that offers support to the LGBTQ+.
- Donate money - There are tonnes of charities out there who are always looking for donations to grow their network, offer more support options or actually support members
To those who are celebrating - Happy Pride Month! And to those advocating -keep it up, the world needs more people and businesses like you!