This month marks the arrival of Pride, a celebration of visibility, identity, and expression for LGBTQ people. Every year in June, companies release statements of support — and even Pride-themed products — to signal LGBTQ inclusion.
Yet, amid a record-shattering year for anti-LGBTQ legislation and escalating attacks against LGBTQ people, some brands have received severe criticism from the far right for celebrating Pride and have buckled to the pressure of this small, but vocal, minority. Other major brands have become the target of an organized campaign of harassment, intimidation, and even threats of violence and bombings against their stores and employees.
The LGBTQ community needs more than Pride products and rainbow capitalism from its corporate allies, and at least some companies, such as members of Open to All, are looking for ways to meaningfully support the LGBTQ community amid this increasingly extremist political environment. A new brief from the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) and the Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement and Research (CLEAR) provides insight from the 2022 LGBTQI+ Economic and Financial (LEAF) Survey* and outlines actions companies can undertake to help the LGBTQ community, according to LGBTQ people themselves.
According to LGBTQ survey respondents, companies and employers can tangibly support the LGBTQ community in the following four ways:
1. Support LGBTQ-owned businesses
According to survey respondents, providing more support for LGBTQ-owned businesses was ranked as the most helpful action that companies could take to support LGBTQ people. Nine in ten (89%) respondents said that supporting LGBTQ-owned businesses would be helpful. Directories of LGBTQ-owned businesses exist in many places, including on Yelp and Google Maps, which make it easy to find and support LGBTQ-owned establishments.
2. Have more LGBTQ representation at work
Representation in the workforce was also a top concern: 86% of LGBTQ respondents said that more LGBTQ representation would be helpful, which includes the 54% of respondents who said more workplace representation would be very helpful.
3. Give to LGBTQ causes
Providing direct financial support for the LGBTQ community is also a key priority among consumers — particularly in the form of direct donations to LGBTQ causes. 85% of LGBTQ respondents said that corporate or political donations to LGBTQ causes would be helpful.
4. Speak out publicly against anti-LGBTQ legislation
The vast majority (83%) of respondents said it would be helpful for companies to publicly oppose anti-LGBTQ legislation and other assaults on LGBTQ rights — such as proposed bans on gender-affirming care, participation in sports, or classroom censorship. Already, 2023 has been a record-setting year in terms of anti-LGBTQ legislation introduced and in the number of bills that have been signed into law.
This June and beyond, we need to see businesses lead by example, like in a recent statement from Open to All — a network of over 700,000 businesses and 80+ corporate partners — which reaffirmed its support the LGBTQ community and condemned backlash against Pride initiatives.
Pride has taken on a new meaning in 2023 — a year that has seen a surge in coordinated and cruel attacks against LGBTQ people. Now, more than ever, LGBTQ people need our allies everywhere to voice their unwavering support for equality, denounce the vitriol and violence facing our community, and take meaningful action toward a more just and inclusive world.
* Data are from the LGBTQI+ Economic and Financial (LEAF) Survey and consist of responses from 2,505 LGBTQI+ adults. The LEAF Survey was conducted in December 2022. To read the report, click here.