17 Jun 2022
Pride London will return on Saturday, July 2, after a two-year hiatus due to coronavirus, with a special celebration to mark 50 years since the first UK Gay Pride Rally in 1972. Whether you identify as LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or ‘Other’) or as an ally, this is a great time to show support for the community by celebrating diversity and highlighting your business as an inclusive space.
Pride is celebrated globally from June to September, commemorating the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York — a significant event for the Gay Liberation Movement — when, in the early hours of June 28, 1969, The Stonewall Inn, a popular Manhattan gay bar, was raided by police.
The scene exploded into a full-blown riot when patrons and neighbourhood residents, fed up after years of harassment, began clashing with the police as the arrested were loaded into vans. Despite being neither the first nor the last such protest, it is considered a turning point in the global fight for LGBTQ+ rights.
As a business owner, ensure that your employees and customers know that your business is a 'safe space' all year long. Consider adding your support to your website's 'About' section or in your social media bio, or, if you have premises, think about displaying Pride messaging in the window.
Ensure your customers and suppliers know where you stand via social media, email marketing or in-store promotions. Take this time to connect with your community and give them a deeper understanding of your business.
Regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, anyone can support the LGBTQ+ community as an "ally". Allies are essential and welcomed members of LGBTQ+ communities, working to stay informed on current issues and speaking up for what's right. They support equality and advocate for equal treatment for all people by fighting for and supporting policies that protect others from prejudice and discrimination.
Staying Informed: Educate yourself if you don't know the difference between sex, sexuality and gender, and don't be afraid to ask questions, instead, commit to being open-minded and willing to expand your understanding.
Speaking Up: Doing what you can when you see or hear discrimination lets others know their words or actions are unacceptable. When you speak up, it educates people and encourages others to do the same.
Supporting Equality: Support policies in your business or any other place that will promote equal rights for everyone – regardless of age, ability, race, sexual orientation, gender or religion
Decorate your business for Pride. A visual representation of your support will make your LGBTQ+ customers and employees feel seen and heard. Celebrate Pride and tell customers you're an LGBTQ+ business owner or an ally with rainbow bunting, posters or banners.
Show your support and create a buzz around your business by letting people know what you're doing with new products or offers. For example, if you're in fashion and apparel, you might think about designing a range of rainbow t-shirts or bags, or, if you're a coffee shop, why not have rainbow cup holders?
However, whatever you decide to do, align your efforts with the services or products at the core of your brand's identity, or your Pride activism will risk coming across as disingenuous.
One of the best ways to celebrate and support the LGBTQ+ community during Pride month is to put your money where your mouth is and help one of the many LGBTQ+ organisations that rely on donations to keep their essential services running.
Although changing your business logo or brand socials to rainbow colours demonstrates that you're taking a public stance, it could be considered performative without following up with some affirmative action. Think about organising a fundraiser and giving back to LGBTQ+ charities such as Stonewall, Galop, or MindOut, as a way to raise awareness and unite your customer base under important and worthwhile causes.
As the workforce continues to diversify, it's increasingly essential for businesses to do all they can to create inclusive, supportive and respectful working environments. One method of achieving this would be hosting a diversity and inclusion workshop to teach attendees how to facilitate LGBTQ+ equality.
Such workshops serve the double purpose of ensuring that employees understand the correct terms to use and how to manage pronouns while attracting new talent by promoting your business as a welcoming workplace with an inclusive culture.
Show support during Pride by highlighting internal practices that embody Pride's fundamental ideals. Empower yourself and your business with a culture of acceptance, constructive challenge and accountability by ensuring strict discrimination and diversity policies are in place.
Any successful business should be a safe place where staff can be open about their identities, one rich with different viewpoints, perspectives and experiences. Such companies enjoy more diverse contributions, with increased productivity and innovation leading to better business outcomes.
Though many businesses that participate in Pride do so successfully, any company looking to take part should ensure that their efforts address the following:
Does this action align with my brand ethos and what we do as a business?
How can I use this action to impact the community positively?
What is my business doing internally to support inclusivity and diversity?
Keeping these questions in mind will help you develop a genuine and meaningful Pride campaign. After all, it's not about your business showing off its rainbow colours; it's about promoting greater representation and support for the LGBTQ+ community, something every business should be finding ways to do.
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