Actions speak louder than Rainbow Flags

Recently released research by YouGov suggests that LGBT people would rather businesses delivered real assistance and support in the workplace rather than spending money on Pride sponsorships or simply applying a rainbow somewhere is their visual marketing for the duration of Pride week.  Three-quarters of the LGBT community that responded to the study felt that a better use of companies resources would be to provide services and policies to support LGBT employees and customers.

A researcher who was part of the research team said that, whilst many people supported businesses that displayed a rainbow flag in their marketing materials far more people would support a business known to have positive policies to support LGBT employees and customers.  This key commercial information is something for businesses to seriously consider. Sam Bjorn, of Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, commented, “businesses need to do more for LGBT employees than marching in Pride or using the rainbow flag in their advertising.  More important are the policies and practices that organisations create and how they affect all LGBT people and all people who face persecution and oppression that was once targeted at us.”

Tanya Compas, a youth engagement officer at UK Black Pride, said the statistics were unsurprising and indicated that she saw some company’s engagement in Pride events as little more than a token gesture during Pride week.

400 organisations sponsored or took part in Pride London; it seems that many organisations want to appear to be LGBT supportive and take credit for this standpoint whilst at the same time not actually practising what they appear to be preaching.  For example, one well known High Street clothing brand festoons its windows with rainbow flags during Pride but then refuses access to the ladies changing rooms to Travis Alabanza, a trans performance artist.  When so-called supporters do not walk the talk, it looks suspiciously like a case of chasing the pink pound with no real engagement with the LGBT community.  Organisations who simply jump on the bandwagon for commercial reasons would be well advised to recognise that such actions are likely to do more harm than good. 


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