Over the rainbow: How “pinkwashing” dilutes the true meaning of Pride Month

Pride Month is here and the rainbow flags are flying. Unfortunately, a lot of those flags are a fig leaf.

Corporations unfurl them in June to show support for the LGBTQ+ community—and do some Pride marketing to push their products. Then, when the month is over, they go back to business as usual, which all too often means hostility to LGBTQ+ rights.

It’s called “pinkwashing.” It’s when companies use the rainbow flag to virtue-signal solidarity with LGBTQ+ people without making any meaningful commitment to inclusion and diversity. Or, worse, it’s when companies use the flag to hide their anti-LGBTQ+ behavior.

Like the social media platform that ran a Pride-themed campaign while refusing to take down homophobic videos. Or the retailers that features Pride merchandise every June but forget all about the LGBTQ+ community on July 1.

This is a problem. Pinkwashing misleads consumers and dilutes the meaning of Pride Month. It wraps a vital movement in candy-colored marketing and suggests the state of LGBTQ+ rights is hunky-dory, when it definitely is not. The Human Rights Campaign has declared a “national state of emergency” for LGBTQ+ Americans “following an unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults.” States across the U.S. are passing anti-LGBTQ+ laws and they pose a real threat to LGBTQ+ people.

This is the true state of LGBTQ+ rights today. And this is why we should never forget that Pride Month is not about rainbow sales and half-off “Love Is Love” crop-tops. It’s about struggle and resistance. At its foundation, it’s about the Stonewall Rebellion, when patrons of a Greenwich Village gay bar, fed up with police threats and beatings, fought back for four days and ignited the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement.

If you support LGBTQ+ rights, you should know that there is an easy way for you to raise your voice for these rights not only for Pride Month but every month. In fact, every day.

It’s CREDO Mobile. For us, Pride is a year-round cause. That’s why we don’t drape our website in rainbows each June. That’s why we regularly send donations to nonprofit groups like the National LGBTQ Task Force, the Transgender Law Center and the ACLU. Since our very first donations, back in 1986, we’ve donated more than $15 million to progressive nonprofits working for equality and civil rights.

Join us now and we’ll donate $50 to Family Equality, which works to ensure that everyone has the freedom to find, form and sustain a family by advancing equality for the LGBTQ+ community. We’ll also give you $250 off a new smartphone or $240 in bill credits if you bring your current phone to CREDO Mobile. Learn more at CredoMobile.com.