As June 2020 comes to a close, so does this year’s National Pride Month. Pride Month 2020 has truly been one for the history books. On June 15th, 2020, a Supreme Court ruling declared that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Simply put, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees are now protected from workplace discrimination and can no longer be legally fired for being gay, bisexual, or transgender. This monumental victory allows millions of Americans to now feel safer in their workplace. Additionally, as the COVID-19 global pandemic continues, many Pride parades and other celebrations have been canceled or postponed. However, that has not and should not stop anyone from celebrating Pride. So, let’s dive into how individuals and brands alike can support the LGBTQ+ community and amplify LGBTQ+ voices, both during Pride Month and year-round.
Avoid Slacktivism on Social Media
Slacktivism is essentially when individuals or brands use social media platforms to do bare minimum activism for a social or political cause such as gay rights or the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Jokes about rainbow images or filters being the hot, new marketing strategy and companies who temporarily change their social media presence to fit the Pride Month aesthetic (but do very little else to support their LGBTQ+ employees and consumers) are a few examples of online slacktivism. As brands, as communications professionals, as individuals, we need to do better. This means hiring more LGBTQ+ employees. This means asking “What are we doing to create truly inclusive workplace environments and meaningful dialogue surrounding LGBTQ+ issues?”. It also means…
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
A major way to take action to support and amplify the LGBTQ+ community is through your wallet. Also, did you know that the LGBTQ+ market in America has an estimated $1 trillion+ in buying power? Research LGBTQ+ owned businesses in your community and companies with online stores who sell everything from jewelry to clothing to furniture. Support companies who give back to the LGBTQ+ community by donating to local groups dedicated to LGBTQ+ causes or partnering with organizations such as The Trevor Project (check out 25 brands committed to giving back during Pride Month 2020). Every one of us can pour money and resources into the LGBTQ+ community through our purchases.
Communications and Public Relations professionals are responsible for creating and distributing messaging that is inclusive and representative of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Fortunately, there are several resources for inclusive language guides available online. Inclusive messaging can be anything from gender-neutral language, correct terminology when referring to LGBTQ+ issues, normalizing same-sex couples in advertisements, and taking clear stances in support of the LGBTQ+ community as a company. Similar to other causes and social issues, one of the most important, overarching things to do with your Pride Month messaging is to remain authentic to your brand and consistent with your values.
As this year’s Pride Month comes to a close, remember that the LGBTQ+ community needs support, recognition, and representation every day, every month. We are responsible for taking action personally, within our workplaces and urging the brands we purchase from to consistently show up for the LBGTQ+ community.
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Sam Stoddard is a senior at Grand Valley State University studying advertising and public relations with a minor in digital studies. She is the current VP of Programming for PRSSA and an Account Associate for GrandPR. In her free time, you can find her practicing yoga, catching up on podcasts from her favorite comedians or spending time up north with her family.