3 Ways Brands Celebrate Pride and Empower LGBTQ+
To support #Pride month, businesses splash a rainbow of offers and opportunities this June
Come June, and a grand celebration season opens up in the LGBTQ+ world. Whenever I see a lavishly dressed member of that group, my heart sings for them. They were probably hiding their identity behind their aching heart for way too long. That’s why when they came out in the open… a soul celebration or a moment of liberation of their true identity in all its wondrous form shows up and stands out. Loud and Proud and Lovely! Truly deserved.
In the early 20th century, LGBTs were dead scared about being found out — in their workplaces, among their friends, and even at their own homes. Some lived a suffocating life, unable to come to terms with the identity, the society was forcing upon them.
Almost everywhere, LGBTQ was considered illegal and faced arrest. It was thought of as obscene, an insult to the family, or a mental illness. Gay and trans folks were brutalized, murdered, outcasted, rendered jobless, abused, humiliated, and totally victimized.
Enough Was Enough
On June 28, 1969, police raided Stonewall Inn, a popular hangout place for the LGBT community, in NYC at about 2 AM. Not that the patrons were not used to it. But this time, they had had enough. The patrons stood united and gave the police a taste of their own treatment. More police forces had to be called, and it was only past 4 AM, the policemen could step out freely. The following day riots ensued, and it led to nearly three days of protests. It eventually turned into a movement, which marked a pivotal point for “them.”
From peaceful, silent marches to loud, violent protests (like the Gay Liberation movement (1969–1974), LGBT rights movement,) they did it all just to say, “We are all created equal.” On June 24, 2016, then-President Obama designated the Stonewall Inn as the “Stonewall National Monument
Brands, small and large, support Pride month every June to celebrate their true colorful spirit.
Creating Rainbow Design Trends
Creating designs and trends to match the “gay” season is the first thing any business supporting the LGBT community thinks of.
Top footwear manufacturers are all for celebrating pride month. Adidas launched its “Love Unites” campaign with a full range of shoes, hoodies, jerseys, Tees, and masks. Reebok launched “FIERCENESS ISN’T BORN. IT’S MADE.” with its designs inspired by inclusion, protest signs, and the legacy of drag ballroom legends. Converse too has launched a bright range as part of its Pride celebrations.
Fashion brands are not behind. H&M came up with “Beyond the Rainbow” campaign where fans can scan any rainbow flag, add Instagram filters and share their own Pride stories on social media through the web app. They also get access to inspiring stories of love and hate, growing up, coming out, finding true love, and celebrating being themselves.
Last month Apple too brought out the Apple watch in Pride Edition in support of the LGBTQ cause.
Donating to LGBT Causes
Brands are not just creating rainbows in their June catalog but taking it further by donating a share of the sales to LGBTQ support organizations.
Puma has its “Free Forever” campaign created by Cara Delevingne and 20% of the proceeds to the Cara Delevingne Foundation, which supports LGBTQ+ organizations worldwide.
Even H&M has pledged $100,000 to the United Nations Free & Equal Campaign, which champions equal rights and fair treatment of the worldwide LGBTQIA+ community.
Brands endorsing the donations is good (for the brands, too), but practically empowering LGBTQ+ folks to even afford what the brands have to offer is the REAL challenge.
Opening Job Opportunities
It’s promising that 96% of Fortune 500 companies have a “Sexual Orientation Nondiscrimination Policy.”
P&G recently launched the #Pride Skill Campaign, offering equal opportunities to the LGBTQ+ community by adding #pride as their portal skills.
Because feeling proud of who you are is also a skill. — P&G, Brazil
This Ad is sure to inspire more inclusivity in the workplace.
But how many of the LGBTQs are qualified enough to be a part of Fortune 500s?
They need to be able to find a safe working place anywhere like anyone. A cafe in India employs transgender people, and nearly 68% of its customers responded positively.
Movies, TV shows, and Ads can help increase social acceptance and reduce prejudice against the LGBT community.
80% of respondents who had been exposed to LGBTQ people in the media say they are more supportive of equal rights for LGBTQ people when compared to the respondents who had not recently seen LGBTQ people in the media (70%), according to a recent study by Glaad and P&G
Private entertainment streaming companies like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu can help build more acceptance to the LGBTQ community by involving more such characters. The study finds that 9.1% of recurring series characters scheduled to appear on broadcast scripted primetime television this season are LGBTQ.
GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, notes that the renewed drive for connection via television during COVID19, paired with growth in audiences’ appetite for more and new content, is a huge opportunity for LGBTQ visibility across the industry.
“This time of unprecedented change matched with increased demand represents an opportunity to break new ground with stories we have not seen before and create LGBTQ characters that do not reinforce harmful stereotypes,” — Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD’s President and CEO.
Human Rights Campaign, a support organization of LGBT rights in the USA, has a list of inclusive corporations in one of their reports.
As per Victoria Institute’s “Out for America 2020,” which conducts a Census of LGBTQ Elected Officials Nationwide, there has been a 21% increase in LGBTQ elected officials last year.
Still, there are nearly 69 countries where the identity of being an LGBTQ is illegal, as of December 2020. The world may come together in June to support them, and it does help. But the fact that they are the same as any free human ought to be an everyday reality.
I genuinely want to uphold one of their slogans that reads, “Come Out. You Have Nothing to Lose but Shame!”
“Come Out. You Have Nothing to Lose but Shame!”
Organizations like GLAAD, The Trevor Project, and It Gets Better Project is actively partnering with volunteers, brands, and donors and creating a safer lifestyle for the LGBTQ community.
Inclusivity and equality in the workplace and society are fundamental human rights that the LGBTQ community is fighting for, though it is their birthright. They are fighting the narrow minds, should we say?
LGBTQs today have found a spot in the army, media, government, and private jobs now. I hope any ideas that they are any less fade away into nothingness real soon.