Don’t fall into the trap of ‘pinkwashing’

Changing your company logo is not enough to show your support for your LGBT+ colleagues

by Éilis Cronin

Pride month is a chance for the LGBT+ community across the UK to celebrate their identity throughout the month of June and for allies to show their support. But for businesses, this support can often take the form of something more symbolic, such as adding a rainbow to company logos, launching Pride-themed products or only raising money for a relevant cause for one month. These acts are known by many ‘washing’ variations - ‘pinkwashing’, ‘Pridewashing’ or ‘rainbow washing’.

For straight-identifying business leaders, these acts might seem like enough. After all, four weeks is a long time to focus on one marginalised community. But many forget that LGBT+ people are who they are all year round. Their identity doesn’t suddenly go away once July rolls around, so support shouldn’t disappear either.

Good intentions are not enough

The concept of ‘washing’ has evolved over time to reflect corporate marketing of specific communities, says Luke-Matthew Iveson, director of the DEI Centre of Excellence at communications group The Creative Engagement Group. While many of these companies have good intentions, these acts of ‘pinkwashing’ only serve to capture sales.

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