Ah, Pride Month. The time of the year where for thirty solid days, the UK (and some of the rest of the world) comes together to celebrate all things LGBTQIA+++ 🌈🌈🌈
Companies change their logos, their social media profile pictures, some run articles and interviews with LGBTQIA+ celebrities. One supermarket I’ve been to even changed their scanners to have a rainbow background, all to demonstrate that the LGBTQIA community has their full support. It’s all amazing, and God knows that this support was missing from society for long enough. And it’s even better that they are doing this despite the backlash… (looking at you, Facebook comments sections…😠)
But…that’s all in June. Come July, the vast majority of these celebrations are packed away till next June.
Can you think of a single company that demonstrates its support for Pride all year round? I can’t. The only things that seems to be permanently rainbow are Skittles. It’s as if Pride Month is a holiday from the almost total disregard that the LGBTQIA community experiences for the other eleven months. And this is wrong. By restricting their rainbow-wielding celebrations to the month of June, I feel that these companies and wider society are suggesting that it is more about virtue signalling than anything else.
Saying “yes, I support LGBT” is no longer enough.
If they really want to make a difference, companies must do more to tackle the adversity that LGBTQIA+ people face in wider society. This could come in many forms, including but by no means limited to…
- Campaigning to ban conversion therapy
- Helping to educate homophobes on why the actions of two consenting people in love does not concern them in the slightest
- Educating LGBTQIA+ people on their rights, such as with regards to hate crime
- Normalising LGBTQIA things
This last one is the big one. Author Nathan Rutstein once said that “Prejudice is the emotional commitment to ignorance.” and in a way, I agree. Ignorance is certainly one of the main factors in prejudice. But is it a commitment? Can it be changed? I think it can. Writer and activist Kathleen Patel has said that “With ignorance comes fear –from fear comes bigotry. Education is the key to acceptance.” This is why the short-term nature of Pride Month needs to be changed. If it is treated as a quick dose of rainbow to keep ‘the gays’ happy, how is that going to stop people fearing it? By normalising it – not just a token gay couple in an advert or a wave of the transgender flag in the background, but more than that – over time, the status of LGBTQIA as something to be feared just might reduce.
Move over, rainbow logos and profile pictures and backgrounds–although they are nice touches. These are temporary; they just disappear the moment we hit July. Instead, let us focus on eliminating homophobia from grassroots level. No, it won’t be as easy as I just made it sound, but the least these companies can do is try. They have the masses at their fingertips on social media, on their websites and (in some cases) in their shops. This gives them huge power –why shouldn’t they use it for good? And many do, I know. Protecting the climate; BLM; preventing animal testing; closing gender pay gaps –all wonderful causes to which it is crucial that the world must listen. I’d just like LGBTQIA to feature a little more on these lists
As pride month came to an end, we asked you to share what Pride means to them and whether they feel brands offer enough support to the LGBTQ+ community…
Many of you mentioned companies who changed their logo in June, but was it enough to resonate with this young, savvy audience?
Watch the full video to find out to see what other panellists has to say about supporting Pride – including why it’s important to lead the way and continue Pride celebrations all year round… 🌈
If you enjoyed this article, do let us know in the comments below. What brands have you seen that support LGBTQ+ causes all year round? We’d love to hear from you 🙂