Brands, take note: The LGBTQ community needs allies all year, not just in June

You see it every year – brands like Miller Lite, Abercrombie and Fitch and McDonalds slap rainbow flags on their products in June in hopes of attracting a lucrative demographic through their support of Pride.

And it’s no surprise. A recent Gallup poll finds that more than 11 million Americans self-identify as LGBTQ. Companies go where the consumers are.

But this once-a-year, superficial approach strikes us as opportunistic, especially at a time when marriage equality and LGBTQ rights are under increasing threats by a right-wing Supreme Court and extremists at the highest levels in the Trump administration.

We believe brands can and should embrace Pride Month, but they should extend their support for the LGBTQ community throughout the entire year.

Some companies have tried to get it right, especially at the state level. In 2015, Salesforce and Angie’s List announced boycotts of Indiana when then-Gov. Mike Pence signed anti-LGBTQ legislation into law. IBM, PayPal and Google did the same in 2016 when North Carolina passed anti-trans legislation. And corporate pressure helped defeat anti-LGBTQ bills in 2017 in Texas as well.

But too many corporations still donate to the Republican Party or to Republican politicians who are relentless in their attacks on LGBTQ equality. And attempts to capitalize on Pride by simply changing a Facebook profile image or sponsoring a Pride parade or slapping a rainbow flag on a french fry box come off as simply another gimmick on the marketing calendar.

If brands want to support the LGBTQ community, they should do so authentically and all year-round, starting with the understanding that Pride Month was founded on resistance, and it isn’t a once-a-year party that corporate America can crash.

Here at CREDO, supporting LGBTQ rights is at the core of who we are as an organization. We not only speak out when we see discrimination, we actively campaign against it. We’ve been fighting for marriage equality and LGBTQ rights for decades. And with our monthly donations program, our members have voted to donate more than $5.7 million to progressive organizations fighting for LGBTQ rights, like the National LGBTQ Task Force and the Transgender Law Center, who you can vote for this month.

With the constant attacks by the Trump administration and right-wing conservatives on their civil rights, the LGBTQ community needs allies all year, not just in June. We hope other brands who are cashing in this month remember that.