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3 Ways Your Brand’s LGBTQ+ Support Can Continue Beyond Pride Month

Culture

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June marks Pride Month around the world; how can we ensure that this vocal support is unwavering year round?

This June, brands and organizations around the country and world took to social media with rainbow-ized icons, donations to nonprofits, and statements of support for the LGBTQ+ community. Come July 1st, many of those displays will disappear, and in many instances the vocal support will as well. But this shouldn’t be the case.

The spirit and support that comes with Pride should be available and visible year-round, and so we’re offering a few suggestions for how your brand can provide it 365 days a year.

You Can’t Be What You Can’t See: Start with your go-to stock images.

It has become increasingly clear that the pictures that we use to express our values and accompany our work aren’t as representative as they should be. Strides are being made in making these images more diverse in terms of race and ethnicity, but that isn’t always enough. Pairing stories about families with same-sex couples or depicting nonbinary individuals as leaders in the workplace in text and imagery can help our customers and consumers reimagine what these ideas look like- and who can embody them.

Want to get started? Both Getty’s #ShowUs campaign (created in collaboration with Dove and GirlGaze) and Broadly’s Gender Spectrum Collection each have stunning galleries of images that you can pull from every day, for every type of story or project you might be sharing on your social channels.

Living Out Loud: Hire, compensate, and affirm LGBTQ+ influencers and contributors.

We lean on influencers because they afford us an opportunity to align our products and services with the personalities and experiences of real people. Who we select for these valuable positions, matters. As you consider working with influencers, be open about who could represent your brand well and how they could embody its spirit and values.

People like actress and model Laverne Cox (for Olay), author and activist Blair Imani (for TOMS), and Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness (for Charmin) are proving that people respond positively to the message and experience of LGBTQ+ individuals—brands who commit to honoring this charge year-round will ultimately win out.

Open to All: Solicit user-generated content and data that allows people to be authentic.

Are we affording people who we serve and sell to every opportunity to be who they are? User-generated content has the power to affirm customers in a unique way, and how we solicit and use it can make a major difference in crafting a wholly representative brand image. For example, when prompts are presented for photo contests or art, we can use terms like “partner” instead of the less-representative “boyfriend or girlfriend.”

In providing examples, we can stray from “he” or “she” as pronouns. And when making our final choices from submitted content, we should feel empowered to place people who differ in a million different ways from the brand personas we might have created—front and center.

To borrow from Broadly’s preamble to the Gender Spectrum collection of photos, “[images] have the power to shape perceptions of entire communities. When used critically, they can chip away at harmful stereotypes, pushing more accurate perceptions and understandings to the fore.” As brands with influence and crafters of stories, we have the opportunity to present stories that can open eyes and hearts. Countless brands heed the call to do so each June; let’s keep the momentum going and ensure we’re pushing for that openness every month of the year.

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