Are Companies Ruining Pride?

This month is international pride month, and companies are celebrating it like never before. This is important, and the focus on LGBTQ-employees and costumers is generally good for diversity and knowledge among every industry. However, the exaggerated and over-the-top celebration that some companies are diving into, makes a large group of LGBTQ-people question the real effect of these efforts. When is pride month an actual movement towards a better world, and when does it become a marketing stunt made in order to sell more products?

As with every change or movement with a lasting effect on the culture of the west, pride month hasn’t been received without prejudice and opposing movements. The so-called straight pride  is the latest tool used by people against the celebration of differences. However, we’re not really looking at the people obviously against gay pride in this piece. It’s much more interesting to take a look at the people and organisations very much for pride month.

Did you know: Although June is International Pride Month, Copenhagen Pride Parade is celebrated in August.

Rainbow Coloured Companies

These days it’s easy to find a rainbow colored logo on social media, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, or YouTube, companies are mixing the beautiful colors with their own logo – either by making it the background, foreground, or a different mix altogether. This is great. This shows a complete drift in understandment of all people –  no more outsiders. 

However, everything is not perfect this Pride month. Companies have been making money at the expense of gay rights for longer than anyone can remember. The last couple of years a wave of bad press has been pouring over some companies, that are otherwise very pro-pride. One of the worst cases comes from energy giant, Shell. While they are one the biggest supporters of LGBTQ-Pride, they’ve been having a lot of backlash lately because they’ve denied moving business out of Brunei even after the state established a new law, where homosexuality is outlawed – with the death penalty as punishment.

There’s also examples of harassment and neglection towards LGBTQ-personal with gaming companies being mentioned often. This problem doesn’t really change because of a different colored logo or a cart and some balloons in a parade. Add to this a problem seen way too often; companies expressing pride-power while making a lot of money, and operating, in countries where being gay is outlawed (i.e. Brunei). This is downright a double standard to say the least.

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What’s Different This Year?

Well, in many ways nothing is different from former years. More companies is supporting pride month, and the general movement in culture is showing a rise in support of LGBTQ-people. But is it more destructive than helpful, when the real matters won’t change. This is not to mention names, but a few companies are experiencing backlash often. These include; Urban Outfitters, Chick-fil-a, MillerCoors, Walmart, and many more.

The places where it really matters; The company policies and cultures are not actually changing. Companies are so caught up with the marketing potential of diverse people, that they are forgetting how marketing should work. It should reflect the best possible version of your company, not blatantly lie about what a company represents.

There’s no doubt that pride – not just in your sexuality – but in every single aspect of who you are as a person is important. And there’s no doubt that companies trying to adapt to this is fantastic. But let’s try and focus on actually changing policies and culture, and not just changing our marketing budget one month a year.

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