Editorial | Corporations should care about LGBTQ+ people beyond just Pride Month

Every year as June rolls around, slowly but surely, it seems like every corporation changes their Twitter icons into rainbow versions of their logos in support of LGBTQ+ Pride Month — even if their actions the rest of the year do not reflect this support. 

These companies continue to say “happy Pride” and add rainbows to their advertisements, but oftentimes their words are empty. Actions matter more than a public image — these corporations should be donating money to LGBTQ+ organizations, rather than just acting like they do. Corporations should put their money where their mouth is 365 days of the year, not just during Pride Month. Pride Month isn’t just for public relations — it’s a celebration of the fight that LGBTQ+ people have fought to secure rights for themselves. 

If a corporation is donating money to GOP candidates who support bills that bar queer and trans people from just existing, their notions of “pride” differ from what they do for the rest of the 11 months out of the year. Major corporations such as McDonalds, Walmart and Amazon collectively donated over $1 million to lawmakers who were against the Equality Act — a bill which would expand protections for LGBTQ+ individuals — through their corporate PACs. Despite this, however, all of the corporations have changed their Twitter icons to rainbows for June and have posted for Pride Month. 

Social media companies “uplift” queer voices in June, but shadowban these creators from using LGBTQ+ terms every other time of the year. TikTok was found to have banned the hashtags “lesbian,” “gay” and “transgender” in Russia, Estonia, Bosnia and various Arab countries in September of 2020. If companies such as TikTok care about LGBTQ+ voices — which they claim in their currently running ads featuring creators who fall under this category — they wouldn’t ban these creators from making content about their experiences. It’s not enough for them to simply claim they support people — they have to make concrete actions to achieve real change on their platforms.

It seems as though these companies care more about their image than implementing any real change — they want to appear progressive and keep up with the times, but their wallets and actions contradict this. And this issue isn’t exclusive to Pride Month. During Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Black History Month, many companies changed their social media to stand in support of these marginalized groups —  even if they were donating money toward political candidates who disregard and suppress marginalized voices. 

While consumers shouldn’t expect corporations to care about anything more than making a profit, corporations should at least try to be ethical and honest instead of focusing on keeping up with their images to sell products. Acting as though they care about marginalized groups while acting in ways that completely contradict themselves won’t help them sell a product — if anything, it should deter consumers from spending their hard-earned money on hypocritical companies. 

This Pride Month, focus on supporting LGBTQ+ small businesses or companies that actually put their money where their mouth is. They should support marginalized communities year-round. As consumers, we should put our money to better use as well, and buy from organizations that actually help LGBTQ+ people — not just ones that claim they do.