Resources 5 min read

Pride Month: a protest, not a celebration.


Martin Kmecik (he/him)



Pride Month. Individuals and companies worldwide will mark the occasion to highlight the struggles of the LGBTQ community is going through every day. Yes, we have come a long way, but we have a very long way to go. The world is divided; communities are divided; people are being silenced; people’s silence is contributing to hatred. It’s time for action and accountability!  

It’s time to think about it, how can anyone even try calling Pride Month a celebration? Countless physical Pride events have been cancelled due to the pandemic; LGBTQ Pride campaigns are being repurposed to show support healthcare workers; trans voices are being silenced; black community continue to struggle because of the high volume of racism; people with disabilities still don’t have accessible venues; women see gender discrimination in work and society; LGBTQ immigrants and asylum seekers are sent back ‘home’ to countries where they face discrimination or even prosecution because of their sexuality; faith groups are being attacked for their beliefs, and the list is long...  

This is not right; this is not the time to celebrate! It’s time to protest!  

Inclusive Marketing and Advertising Training.

Already this morning, June 1, 2020 many companies and individuals proudly posted their support for the LGBTQ community across social media or sent newsletters launching Pride-themed collections! Amazing! Community want to see more of it all year round! BUT we also want to see equality for all, not just a few!  

1. Let's wave the flag! But which one and why?

There are several LGBTQ flags on the market. The Progress Pride flag (see the top of the article) seems like the most inclusive one. Only a year ago we marked the 50 years since The Stonewall riots in NYC, which were led by Black Trans Women. Without their courage, the LGBTQ community would not have the rights people can enjoy today. It must also be stressed the trans and black community suffers the most, even now. Communities must come together to support each other.  

Unconscious Bias Training

2. Get your marketing and communication right!

t's a big one but possible. And no, changing your logo to rainbow colours or launching a new product collection isn't enough. Why? Well, many organisations do that for Pride Month or when Pride events are happening in their cities but then forgets about it right after the celebration ends. Let's get it straight, LGBTQ folks won't be heterosexual in July!

A quick guide below:

2.1 Rainbow coloured logo - if you use it, learn the meaning behind the flag plus educate your leaders, and team members about it. Blasting it all over your assets won't educate your teams. Most importantly, if your comms team doesn't know the messaging behind the Pride activation, it creates uncertainties for you as a leader as your team will send mixed messaging to online audiences - that's the last thing you need! 

2.2. Attend an LGBTQ inclusion and Unconscious Bias training. The more you learn from LGBTQ folks, the more you know about your unconscious bias, the fewer mistakes you will make all year round. It's important you will choose the most up-to-date training for your team that is based on the intersectional approach. We have these all available, get in touch if you're interested!

2.3. Consult/Involve LGBTQ folks in EVERY conversation you have about the campaign! One note here, don't consult a white gay man who has not got a history of supporting trans of black colleagues to give you feedback about the campaign in which you're planning to connect and/or include this audience. This is not to say you should not seek support from your white gay colleagues! We just must be aware of the things we don't know.

2.4. Merchandise/clothing - everyone loves it! It helps with visibility. Distribute to your staff and employees BUT tell them the meaning behind it too! Check, check the source of your merch - there were instances where companies launched new collections of merch which were produced in a country where human and/or LGBTQ rights are decades behind.

2.5. Events - due to the pandemic virtual events are replacing physical pride celebrations. Ensure you invite and PAY your speakers for their time. Most importantly, diversity isn't a tick box activity - it's recognising equally talented people from different walks of life.

2.6. Be curious! Get out of your comfort zone! Be ready for a backlash! Stand for what you believe! If you're an international organisation, make sure you run the campaign in all countries you operate! Inclusion should have no borders! (read more here) 

3. PRO-ACTIVE Allyship 

It goes without saying that trans people need the support of their allies, and one of the best ways to show your support is to demonstrate your acceptance of trans identities.

A few examples of how can you be an ally (For those from within and outside of the LGBTQ community!)

3.1. Correct your peers if they are joking about someone looking feminine or masculine. Stereotypical gender bias isn't attractive and, in most cases, extremely discriminatory and mentally damaging.

3.2. Stop questioning someone's identity! If you are not sure about someone's pronouns, don't assume. Ask them.

3.3. Don't say "Oh wow" when black folk tell you they are studied at one of the top universities or compare your tan to their skin - it's racist.

3.4. Stop telling men to "Man up". Men have struggles too and their mental health isn't going to improve if you say that!

3.5. Stop assuming that people with disabilities can't do the task, ask them about it, give them a chance to say no.

3.6. Think twice before inviting someone for an alcoholic drink, not everyone drinks alcohol or want to be surrounded by it.

3.7. If you meet a trans person, don't ask them if they've had physically transitioned. It's none of your business.

The above examples may seem small, yet many allies forget the basics. Act now. Don't be a bystander.

"We must understand that we will never understand."

As a straight person, you will never understand what it means to be LGBTQ.

As a man, you will never know what it means to be a woman.

As a white person, you will never understand what it means to be black, Asian or from minority ethnic.

As an able-bodied person, you may never know how it feels to live with a disability.

As a person with good mental health, you may never know how it feels to live with mental illness or disability.

As a lesbian, gay, bi you will never know how it feels to be trans or non-binary.

As a person who was born into a wealthy family, you may never understand how it feels to be poor.

As an atheist, you may never know what it means to be religious. 

People are dying every day. People are being discriminated every day. People are shouting for help.

Check your privilege! Someone else's justice should be your justice! Be the part of the protest! Act now! 

Martin Kmiecik || Diversity Pride

Author: Martin Kmiecik (he/him), CEO Diversity Pride

Martin is an ambitious multipreneur, activist and educator working with companies around Europe, Asia and the Americas on their inclusion for all strategies. Follow Martin on:

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