Are you aware of what actually is LGBTQIA pride?
LGBTQIA pride is the promotion of the self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people as a social group. Pride, as opposed to shame and social stigma, is the predominant outlook that bolsters most LGBTQIA rights movements.
Why is Pride month celebrated every June?
LGBTQIA Pride Month is currently celebrated each year in the month of June to honour the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. The Stonewall Uprising was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States.
Read our exclusive Q&A with Neeta Kaushik to know more about what actually the LGBTQIA community feels about Pride month and how can brands be inclusive/aid in pride celebration.
Question: How do you celebrate Pride Month?
Neeta: June, as everyone knows, (well most of the people know) is celebrated as Pride Month around the globe. Well, as in my part of the celebration, I scroll my gram feed in awe of all the elated pictures of people shared worldwide. We in Assam too celebrate this day in a very jubilant manner, wherein lots of people donning chromatic clothes or any piece of clothing that has all the colours of the colour wheel come together to express their joy and happiness on this very special day. It really is overwhelming to see so many happy colourful faces together without any faltering. Proud enough to accept the reality
Question: Do you think Pride month has now become a pop-culture event to attract more crowds by brands?
Neeta: Yes. Advertising that centres around the LBGTQ community now has broad appeal.
Everywhere you look there seems to be a rainbow-clad advertisement.
From bus stops to billboards, online ads to company logos on social profiles, there is no shortage of colour in corporate branding this month.
While I have loved seeing colourful rainbows just about everywhere I turned recently, I am conflicted, knowing many organizations aren’t doing much beyond simply flying the rainbow flag. Commercialization is Not Support. This "support" is often just superficial; in an effort to be relevant.
However this year it has been a bit different. There are brands that have aligned with Nonprofits for Pride such as-
- Levi's launched a charitable collection that includes tie-dye pieces, transparent jackets and graphic T-shirts that read 'Use Your Voice!' to celebrate pride month. All proceeds from the collection go to Outright Action International.
- Puma has partnered with model & influencer Cara Delevinge to create "From Puma with Love", an affordable collection of rainbow sportswear, shoes and accessories with 20% of proceeds going to Delevinge's charity which supports LGBTQ causes.
- Fashion Brands Donate to Nonprofits It Gets Better and the Trevor Project: Fabletics, Reebok, Teva and Kate Spade have all created product lines, including work-out gear, sneakers, sandals and handbags, with a portion of proceeds or cash donations going to the It Gets Better Project and The Trevor Project.
- L’Oreal Hosts Virtual Pride Parade on Instagram: As part of L’Oreal’s “Proud Allies for All” NYX Professional Makeup hosted the first virtual Pride march June 1 on Instagram, in partnership with the Los Angeles LGBT Center. People participated by downloading and posting an image of themselves with custom “Proud Allies” Instagram filters.
We need brands like these, I really hope next year our Indian brands will also evolve out and help in creating awareness.
Question: What do you think brands should do to become an LGBT ally?
Neeta: Brands can be a Vocal Ally by making it a point to engage in conversations about supporting the LGBTQ+ community. Don’t put on a Pride t-shirt if you’re not ready to have a conversation about what it means to wear one. Stand up for the queer employees at the organization if they’re not around to stand up for themselves.
Have Policies That Create an Inclusive and Safe Working Environment. While being supportive is great, access to affordable healthcare is even better.
Oftentimes, policies regarding health coverage and parental leave, are not completely inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community’s needs. Look beyond your day-to-day office life and get to know the deeper challenges those in the community face and how you can accommodate.
Donate to LGBTQ+ Charities and Organizations
While support and allyship are great, what many marginalized communities truly need is financial support.
If you want to do something for Pride month, put your money where your mouth is and donate to LGBTQ+ organizations to support LGBTQ+ youth (The Trevor Project), support the political fight for equality (Human Rights Campaign), or support local LGBTQ+ owned businesses.
Note: You don’t even have to sell a product to contribute a donation. You could host an internal fundraiser where your company matches what employees donate. You could also host an event inviting your clients or community.
Be Inclusive and Representative in Your Promotional Campaigns
From shaving ads including transgender men to marketing campaigns that feature same-sex couples, there are many steps brands can take to be more inclusive and representative in their promotional campaigns.
Picture credits: Neeta Kaushik