June 18, 2021 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

COLUMN: It Takes More than a Rainbow

Though the LGBTQ+ community is making progress in human rights across the country, 47 percent of LGBTQ respondents in a new Glassdoor survey said that being “out” in the workplace could hurt their career; and perhaps for this reason, 43 percent say they are not fully out at work.

During Pride month, we begin to see corporations of all kinds are flocking to social media to post rainbow-branded merchandise and boast their support of the community, the question becomes: is this support authentic? Or is this just another branding moment?

We see big corporations like Youtube and Disney rainbow-fying their marketing strategies in support of the LGBTQ+ community during the month of June, yet they are under fire for a lack of authentic support of equal opportunity.

 Simply put, the way many corporations are treating Pride is all wrong. 

Instead, organizations should be harnessing this time to celebrate and support meaningful dialogues, and incorporate messages of care and belonging into everyday interactions.

The Pride LA spoke with Lauren Franklin, the Head of Inclusion at Limeade, about Pride Marketing. Check it out:

Lauren Franklin

Specific examples of orgs that are celebrating Pride right:

 Organizations that are “getting pride right” are those that don’t think about pride as one month, but rather invest in LGBTQ+ rights throughout the entire year in meaningful ways. These are the companies devoting budget to Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) that create a sense of belonging for LGBTQ+ employees, take a stand publicly to support the LGBTQ+ rights movement, and that make the stories of the LGBTQ+ community a part of their brand. We love the recent Gilette commercial about the father teaching his transgender son how to shave. We also love howT-Mobile is creating multiple ways for their customers to donate to LGBTQ rights organizations and share stories of LGBTQ+ experiences and allyship.

Inauthentic practices organizations should avoid:

 While we commend the organizations demonstrating support of pride in their products, it can feel inauthentic if selling rainbow colored items is the only form of support. It’s great to see the “rainbow-ified” logos flooding LinkedIn, but if LGBTQ+ employees don’t feel safe, included and like they belong at those organizations those can feel incredibly inauthentic. We encourage companies to invest budget in creating processes, policies and cultures that foster belonging for all versus rainbow marketing campaigns and multi-colored versions of their products.

Best practices for celebrating Pride month in a thoughtful way:

 We encourage employers to be more active, externally and internally, in their support of LGBTQ rights throughout the year versus in June alone. So during June, absolutely encourage your employees to march in parades and organize volunteer activities for pride month. Then when the celebrations end after June, continue to support LGBTQ+ rights in ways such as taking a stand on local laws or challenging other organizations to ensure their benefits are inclusive of all individual and family needs. Within your company, focus on standardizing gender roles, getting rid of imagery and language that relays heterosexuality as the norm and educating your employees on LGBTQ issues in this country.

Lauren Franklin, is the Head of Inclusion at Limeade, an employee experience platform.

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