Last weekend, I went to Brighton Pride for the first time. It lived up to the expectations in my head – oversized theatrics, great music and a fantastic atmosphere.
Brands from Boohoo to Gatwick Airport joined in the official parade, showcasing their Pride ‘credentials’. Whilst it’s fantastic that brands do get involved, you often ask, “How much do they really care about the LGBT community? What are they doing as an organisation to be more inclusive?”.
This is where a problem lies. For years, there has been a backlash against those accused of ‘pinkwashing’ – slapping on rainbow colours to their corporate logo whilst making no material changes internally to promote diversity.
So what can businesses and brands take away from Pride?
Promoting diversity for diversity’s sake is pointless. Actionable internal change is needed. There’s no silver bullet, but businesses should look at initiatives that are tried and tested like senior mentoring.
For companies, if doing the right thing isn’t enough of a reason to implement change, then look at the business reasoning. Employees that are out, happy and feel supported will be more productive than those that feel they need to hide who they are at work.
The LGBT community seems fortunate, in my opinion, to have a period of celebration that businesses and allies get so on board with. Unlike other diversity streams, the celebration appears louder and more encompassing. Applying this euphoric sense of celebration on a national scale to other streams might be a way in which we can progress as a diverse and importantly inclusive country.
Who really knows though? These are just my views, and don’t represent MWWPR’s.
And of course, Pride gives brands like Paddy Power the opportunity to launch another tongue-in-cheek stunt. The ‘Official Bus of Gay Professional Footballers’ travelled through the parade with no one on board representing the fact that there are no openly out professional footballers. Stonewall came out (pardon the pun) with the argument it might be potentially dangerous. Divisive as it might be, it’s definitely proactive.
Tom Broughton, Account Manager