In the digital age, pride month (June, for the UK) is a hard thing not to notice. The influx of rainbows on our social media timeline and rebranding of well-known brands packaging in the supermarket is…everywhere.
There are several simple displays of allyship for the LGBTQ+ community that you might see brands implementing.
Some businesses will attempt to demonstrate their “wokeness” by superficially aligning themselves with the queer community by rainbow-washing their social media and selling a hand-fan that says “Yaassss Qween!” and “Werk it Gurl.”
Although this performative activism of putting a rainbow in a logo can allow brands to avoid the wrath of twitter’s cancel culture for June, and potentially generate support and custom. In 2021, it’s becoming more apparent the businesses are attempting to capitalise on an already marginalised community.
This blog could detail the history behind pride, including the Stonewall riots, historical figures such as Marsha P. Johnson, and what the pride flag we know stands for. Unfortunately, the word count on this blog is limited (disappointing, I know!)
If, however, this is something that you are unfamiliar with, we strongly encourage you to conduct your research. We will leave relevant links to occur depictions of the history of pride here.
Instead, what we will be focusing on is the need for pride in today’s world. Specifically, from the eyes of a digital marketing agency.
So Why Is There A Need For Pride In Today’s World?
Some people may question the need for pride in today’s world, especially considering that ‘nowadays things are so much better’. However, although progress has been made (in some countries around the world) the LGBTQ+ community still face discrimination daily:
- One in five LGBTQ+ people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the last 12 months.
- In a recent Stonewall report, “Two in five trans people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last 12 months.”
- The World Health Organisation has only just decreed that transgender people are not mentally ill.
- According to The Trevor Project, 39% of LGBTQ+ respondents between the ages of 13 and 24 “seriously considered suicide” within the past 12 months.
Whilst you may get caught up in the jubilation and exhilaration of pride festivities, these statistics that highlight the fight for true equality is far from over.
It is worth noting they are also not a true reflection as countless other hate crimes or incidents of violence towards LGBTQ+ people go unreported due to fear, as well as the many other acts of discrimination and violence that are systematically built into the fabric of today’s society across the globe that we haven’t listed.
What Can Your Business Do To Help This Situation?
So with this pride month in mind, we have listed how you and your business can engage (or should have engaged) with the LGBTQ+ community all year long in a way that complements the work you do during pride month.
But also a way that doesn’t contribute to the already mentioned rainbow-washing hypocrisy seen far too often around the time of this celebration of all things queer. Celebrating diversity is an incredible way to not only enrich your business and attract more customers, but it positions you as a leader for change, a figurehead that garners a reputation as socially forward-thinking.
When planning your campaign, ensure that the people who are making the decisions are those who identify as members LGBTQ+.
No story is the same. So listen and learn from others’ experiences different from your own. The only way to produce a pride campaign that conveys authenticity is by including diversity in your decision-making team and letting them guide you in conveying your message.
Also, think about the end product. It’s all a celebration of queer culture in all forms, and a time to put emphasis on what is left for us to achieve so that queerness is neither something to be capitalised on, or ostracised from mainstream media.
The community is diverse and varied, making sure as many people as possible are represented in your marketing campaign.
Pride Is Not Just One Month…
If you are genuinely looking to brand yourself as an ally, you must use your platform to create a marketing campaign that sparks conversation, changes perceptions and continue the work to normalise LGBTQ+ issues all year round.
It’s all very good to say you support the community during pride month, but it’s time to do the work. Donate money to LGBTQ+ organisations, support pro-LGBTQ+ legislation, and create diverse campaigns continuously.
Choose Your Words Carefully
Choices in language and copy are crucial aspects of any marketing campaign, especially when it relates to an often mislabeled community. So be careful.
Also, please don’t attempt to use colloquiums and slang of queer culture in your campaign, as it can often come across as mockery (even if unintentional) and perpetuate stereotypes.
Be sure to partner with LGBTQ+ nonprofits and influencers. Work with LGBTQ+ influencers to help spread the message across social media and help normalise conversations and educate the need for pride.
Just don’t use the pride flag as an opportunity to cash in. Conduct research to understand the challenges of your employees and, where possible, your customers who are LGBTQ+.
Take a public stand on LGBTQ+ issues, and be a part of the conversation. If you’re producing and selling pride flag merchandise for the month, give 100% of your profits to LGBTQ+ charities and foundations.
Being gay is still illegal in around 70 countries. There are conversative legislations being passed right now across the globe that are stripping certain demographics of the queer communites of fundamental rights.
Your brands can be the light for many of those marginalised by knowing that your business openly supports and accepts them. Showing LGBTQ+ support in places where it may be outlawed can inspire other companies to be braver next year and the year after that.
Most importantly, as mentioned, don’t limit these activities to Pride Month. Undertake this work throughout the year and apply this logic and initiative for BAME and female communities as well.
Mentionable Charities that all could use your support:
The Trevor Project
Colours Youth Network
It gets better
Black Trans Alliance