rainbow logo

Don’t you just love a rainbow logo?

By now, you have gotten the message that June is LGBTQ Pride Month, the month where corporations all around the world turn their logos into rainbows.

As an openly gay professional of a certain age, I am genuinely grateful for the progress we’ve made, and I’m certainly thankful for all those who came before me and enabled me to have the life and career I do.

But it is important to remember what Pride actually is. Pride is a message in and of itself. It is when LGBTQ people stand up and say, “No, we’re no longer going to hate, change, or hide who we are. Instead, we’re going to stand up and be proud of who we are in our entirety.”

Now that corporations have joined us in that, it’s also important to look carefully at what they’re really saying.

Many of these same companies with rainbow-colored logos are still overlooking us for promotions, not hiring us to begin with, or ostracizing us if they do. Even worse, many of them are supporting political candidates who continue to use us as wedges, particularly transgender adults and children, so that they can further their own agendas.

There are a couple of ways to see if a company with which or for whom you work is sporting the rainbow flags sincerely or opportunistically.

  • The first is to look them up on the HRC Corporate Equality Index. The Index looks at a number of factors, such as sexual orientation and gender identity in U.S. nondiscrimination policies, transgender-Inclusive benefits, organizational LGBTQ competency, and public commitment to the LGBTQ community.
  • In addition, you can look at their support of public PACs at places like opensecrets.org, the Federal Elections Commission website, or your state’s equivalent.
  • A look at their senior leadership is also a good indicator. The more diverse their senior management and board, the more likely they are to have a genuine commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. (To be clear, a homogeneous leadership team can support LGBTQ diversity. It’s just a lot less likely.)

If your rainbow logo is a celebration of what you’ve accomplished and a commitment to do better, thank you! Sincerely. You are sending a message that many need to hear.

On the other hand, if your rainbow logo is simply an attempt to look like a socially responsible corporate citizen, you’re sending another message entirely—a message that day by day, more and more of us are hearing loud and clear.

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