5 Things Businesses Can Do Instead of Changing Their Logo During Pride Month

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

I know it’s tempting to hop on the bandwagon and change your logo during Pride Month.

But many queers I know are starting to feel dubious of brands that do this. Often, the logo change isn’t accompanied by any discussion of the company’s impact in the LGBTQ+ community.

Instead, the rainbow theme seems to disappear as soon as July 1st rolls around, stuffed unceremoniously back into the closet until it’s dragged back out next summer.

Even for queers who want to support companies that model social media actions in the community, Googling the companies that have changed their logo doesn’t turn up a whole lot of LGBT initiatives.

Lesbians, gays, bisexual, trans people have been persecuted all over the world for their sexual orientation. For something they can’t control.

For companies that want to engage in Pride Month as allies (or queers themselves), here are five ways you can support the LGBTQ+ community.

#1. Donate to a queer charity.

People who are trans and/or bisexual are over-represented among low-income Canadians. LGBT+ folks are also the targets of numerous hate crimes, with 20% of trans people reporting having experienced physical or sexual assault due to their identity. Perhaps worst, trans people are twice as likely to think about an attempt suicide than their LGB peers — saying nothing of how they compare to the straight community.

A rainbow logo isn’t going to make a trans person feel secure. It’s not going to solve the problem that non-binary people don’t feel safe using public restrooms. And it’s not going to convince perpetrators of hate crimes to show kindness to LGBT+ community members.

However, advocacy groups and educational organizations can help. They can spread awareness, fund projects that help LGBT+ members feel safe, secure, and wanted in their community, and can give back to the people that are still fighting for their identity and place in society every day.

#2. Conduct anonymous surveys to see how LGBT+ employees feel about your workplace.

If you’re a senior leader within a company:

  • Do you know how many of your employees identify as LGBTQIA+?
  • Do you know how they feel at work?
  • Do they feel safe and accepted?

Is it possible they feel unable to freely discuss their relationships, afraid they may be penalized for their sexual orientation or gender?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, start by asking. It’s possible, that even if you’re an ally, some of your LGBT+ staff don’t feel completely safe: 20% of LGBTQ Americans report facing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity when applying for jobs, and 22% haven’t been paid equally or promoted at the same rate as their peers.

Even if they haven’t experienced direct discrimination, about half of them have been subject to lesbian, gay, bi, or trans jokes, which lends to feelings of exclusion and a lack of belonging.

Understanding how diverse team members think or feel is the first place to start in developing an inclusive workspace.

#3. Hold diversity training sessions.

With 25% of LGBTQ+ employees still hiding their sexual/gender orientation at work, it’s no question education is a key factor to belonging. Hold diversity training to help members of your team — regardless of their sexual orientation — learn and understand their peers.

Diversity training can help us uncover unconscious bias and help us learn to communicate with one another. Importantly, it can uncover behaviours that make LGBT+ people feel alienated, excluded, or attacked. It can help us relate to our peers and reduce the chasm that exists between us — creating a sense that we’re not so different.

Ultimately, all of these things will serve to help your workplace feel safer for your LGBTQ+ staff.

#4. Run a professional workshop (or two) for an under-served community.

LGBTQ+ students are more likely to be victimized in the educational system, leading to higher rates of drop-out. Schools report struggling to support their queer communities. Particularly for bi and trans youth, absenteeism and bullying are high.

Running queer-safe workshops can be a great way to help LGBT+ students explore their interests and network with other members of the community. Ideally, the workshop is in an area of economic need, like computer programming; however, there are many types of education and content that can support queer youth.

#5. Audit your hiring practices and see where you stack up with respect to diversity.

When it comes to sexual diversity, where do you stack up next to other organizations in your location and of similar size?

It’s sometimes hard to see discrimination without data. Surveying your workplace anonymously and auditing your hiring practices can help you uncover unconscious bias.

Are you more likely to reject a candidate if they disclose a non-heterosexual identity?

If they’ve been engaged in Pride activities?

Or are there few LGBT+ candidates entering your pipeline at all, potentially signalling a lack of existing employee diversity or not reaching diverse networks?

If you choose to change your logo this Pride Month, or you already have, please be sure to let us know through posts, articles, and signage what you’ve done to support the LGBT+ community.

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Brigitte Dreger

Brigitte Dreger

Talking about the things people are afraid to talk about. LGBT+, Startup Culture, Diversity.