Forget the Pride Float: 4 Ways Your Company Can Be an Authentic LGBTQ+ Ally This Pride Month

It’s almost June, so there’s a good chance your company is planning to apply a rainbow sheen to its logo or roll a Pride parade float out of storage soon. These visible forms of allyship are certainly important ways to signal support for the community. However, true, authentic LGBTQ+ allyship requires so much more — and is most impactful when it’s a year-round activity.  

In recent years, we’ve seen far too many cases where companies who present themselves to be true allies to the LGBTQ+ community have proven that their support only goes so far. In 2023, when Target faced backlash for its Pride collection and Bud Light faced boycotts for simply working with a transgender creator, both companies ultimately buckled under anti-LGBTQ+ pressure. This type of shallow and inauthentic allyship — where support for LGBTQ+ communities is conditional on not losing customers — is not only easy to spot, it can also be harmful to the communities that this allyship is aiming to empower. And while genuine allyship shouldn’t require a business case, a recent Porter Novelli survey shows consumers are increasingly demanding that companies take a stand behind their values, and not just name them in a marketing campaign.  

This Pride month and every month, Tides encourages businesses to show up as authentic and unwavering allies to the LGBTQ+ community. Before your company debuts its new rainbow logo this June, we hope you’ll also consider these four approaches to ensure you’re doing so from a place of active and meaningful LGBTQ+ allyship: 

1. Adopt Inclusive Benefits and People Policies:

Before outwardly presenting as an ally, it’s vital that your company creates a safe space for LGBTQ+ staff to show up authentically and ensure your policies, procedures, and benefits recognize the unique needs of LGBTQ+ employees and their families. According to a 2022 survey, roughly 1 in 3 LGBTQ+ professionals feel the need to conceal their identities at work to protect themselves from harassment or fear of reduced advancement opportunities. While outwardly proclaiming to be an LGBTQ+ ally may help initially foster a sense of inclusion for staff, those claims only go so far if staff feel they can’t show up as themselves or internal policies aren’t inclusive of their lived experiences.  

 Consider the following ways you can foster LGBTQ+ allyship in the workplace and make your company’s policies, procedures, and benefits more inclusive of LGBTQ+ staff and their families:  

2. Listen to and Empower LGBTQ+ Employees:

Making sure your policies and physical spaces are inclusive is just the beginning of how employers can support LGBTQ+ employees. LGBTQ+ staff, whether individually or through LGBTQ+ employee resource groups (ERGs), should feel safe to continuously engage with leadership and human resources on issues that uniquely affect them.  

According to HRC Foundation, not only can an LGBTQ+ ERG play a vital role in increasing feelings of belonging and creating mentorship opportunities for queer staff, but they can also create important channels for staff to share feedback on how a company’s policies, products, and campaigns can be more inclusive. While LGBTQ+ ERGs should be empowered to provide feedback, it’s important not to make that the expectation. It’s not your staff’s responsibility to take on this work for you, but it is your company’s responsibility to listen to them and invest in building an inclusive workplace. 

3. Donate to LGBTQ+ Organizations:

This year, Tides is once again encouraging our partners to consider funding organizations that are empowering and providing vital services to the LGBTQ+ community, especially BIPOC and trans individuals. We’re also encouraging our partners to consider supporting education and advocacy organizations working in the states with the highest volume of anti-LGBTQ+ bills on the docket this year, according to the ACLU’s tracking.  

The following organizations, all Tides grantees, are serving and empowering LGBTQ+ communities, especially BIPOC and trans individuals, through direct and legal services, mutual aid, and grantmaking to fund local grassroots initiatives: 

The following organizations are providing vital services for and are protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ residents in the states with the most anti-LGBTQ+ bills working through their legislatures this year: 

Whether supporting these or other LGBTQ-serving organizations, consider putting your company’s charitable resources to work eaffecting real support for the LGBTQ+ community and encourage your employees, through their personal giving or through employee matching campaigns, to do the same. This goes without saying, but charitable giving to support LGBTQ+ organizations shouldn’t be reserved just for the month of June.    

4. Be Prepared to Stand Behind Your Pride Campaigns and LGBTQ+ Partners:

Once you’ve ensured your policies are inclusive of LGBTQ+ staff and their needs, created a safe and supportive work environment for your LGBTQ+ staff, and are actively supporting LGBTQ+ communities beyond your organization, then your company might just be ready to authentically present as an LGBTQ+ ally.  

If launching a Pride campaign, selling Pride-themed products, or partnering with LGBTQ+ influencers is important to your cause, be prepared to stand behind these campaigns fully. Consider the following tactics to make sure your company is ready to launch and stand by your campaigns fully and authentically:  

  • Make contingency plans before you launch the campaign so you can be prepared for any scenario, including anti-LGBTQ+ noise or even boycott.  
  • Engage with LGBTQ+ leaders in your community to ensure your message isn’t unintentionally creating any additional harm. 
  •  Ensure your leadership team and key stakeholders are on board with your campaign and are prepared to stand unwaveringly behind your values.   

If your company isn’t prepared to stand by your campaigns, skip the rainbow washing and focus on the internal work instead. At the end of the day, being an ally is an ongoing aspiration, and there is much more impactful work to do than simply updating that logo.