It happens every year.
When the clock strikes midnight on June 1, rainbows adorn every company’s social media logos. The shelves of box stores are filled with kitschy rainbow-colored items. LGBTQ+ influencers are contracted to lend credibility. Suddenly, everyone is an ally.
The LGBTQ+ community deserves support all year round. However, “Rainbow Capitalism” as it’s often called, can sometimes feel as though it’s coming from hollow gestures.
This leads to well-earned criticism from the LGBTQ+ community and eventually a company can actually harm its standing with young people.
Below you’ll find several companies who actually walk the walk when it comes to supporting LGBTQ+ people.
While this may seem like a no-brainer, as Tim Cook was the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company. However, Apple’s support of the LGBTQ+ community runs deeper than that.
According to the HR Digest, Apple was one of the first companies to offer healthcare benefits for same-sex partnerships over 20 years ago. That also includes parental leave for same sex partnerships. Apple was one of the first organizations in the U.S. to offer this and remains one of the only to do so.
Apple has also landed itself a perfect score for 15 years from the Human Rights Campaign for their LGBTQ+ friendly policies.
AT&T also joined the ranks of corporations that have been supporting their LGBTQ+ staff from early on. In fact, AT&T forbade discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation back in 1975. Just 12 years later, they also created a resource group for their LGBTQ+ employees, becoming one of the first of its kind.
Most notably, AT&T partnered with the Trevor Project in 2018 to help support the Trevor chat, a digital crisis counseling service.
While Salesforce is a newer company, they have already been honored by several organizations for their LGBTQ+ advocacy, in particular Salesforce’s CEO Marc Benioff.
Benioff has put pressure on legislators in the past for anti-LGBTQ+ policies, including Georgia Governor Nathan Deal for a bill that would allow people and organizations to deny employment or services based on “religious reasons.”
Benioff also threatened to cancel a global operations center in North Carolina over the discriminatory HB2 law targeting trans people. HB2, which the Department of Justice called violated civil rights, mandated that people may only use public restrooms corresponding to their biological sex. The law has since been overturned, due to national outrage and brought to light by changemakers like Benioff.
Among other policies, Salesforces also has extremely inclusive gender-based benefits for trans employees, including reimbursement for gender affirming medical needs.
The message for companies that wish to support the LGBTQ+ community should listen to the actual purpose of Pride Month: “To thy own self be true”.
Be truthful with your messaging, your ethos, and your purpose. Authentically supporting the causes that are important to your organization is the only way to gain the client base you want.
No fluffy packaging.
No relying on influencers.
No hollow gestures.
Just the truth.