Scenario: It’s May 31st. Every company logo has their normal color, normal style, normal everything. The clock strikes midnight on June 1st? Rainbow, rainbow, rainbow! Although the visibility for the queer community is admirable, it begs the question: is changing your company’s logo for Pride considered performative or productive?
There are a few different sides to this.
Is it performative? Posting a rainbow logo for Pride month can be hypocritical for some companies. They “stand” for LGBTQ+ rights by changing their logo for one single month but, in reality, their everyday business practices are harming the queer community.
Is it productive? It can be! A big part of acceptance is education and visibility. By creating more visibility through the increase in Pride logos, it can interest people about the LGBTQ+ community and encourage them to get educated. The resources and information that is shared during June is helpful in many ways and can open up the minds of potential allies. When young people who are struggling with their sexuality see the illusion of universal acceptance through these logos, it can end up empowering people to feel confident in themselves.
I asked a few of my queer friends about their thoughts on this question.
When asked if companies changing their logos is performative or productive, Wyatt Robertson (@wyattandthewhale) said that it, “[d]epends! I think if the company 1) is uplifting queer people in their own organization to help create the campaigns 2) does more than just like donate a small portion of their profits from their Pride campaigns 3) doesn’t cause harm to the community overall, both during Pride and also for the rest of the year (like big banks that invest in prisons)”.
It’s a tricky situation because companies giving visibility to queer people seems inherently positive. Like people say, no press is bad press. By getting the message of queer people in the workforce out into the world, it helps create a bridge of acceptance. However, there are also circumstances that can cause harm to the LGBTQ+ community by performatively changing a logo for a month.
Antonia Washington (@antonia22washington) said, “There are lots of companies that slap a rainbow on their products/marketing while simultaneously actively working against the interests of the BGLTQ community by contributing to anti-BGLTQ organizations/political campaigns, investing in private prisons (like Wyatt’s big banks example), doing business in places that criminalize queerness (there are ~70+ countries that criminalize queerness.”
What are some ways that companies can actually support the LGBTQ+ community during Pride month and all year long?
Queer content creator, Fran Tiredo (@franquishco) shared productive ways for companies to support the LGBTQ+ community instead of promoting vague pride merch and rainbow logos. His suggestions included donating 100% of a profit to a queer organization from Pride merchandise, hiring queer and trans creatives to develop their Pride campaigns, educating and activating members who come across their brand about LGTBQ+ rights and continuing to do this type of work all year long, not just in June. These are just a few options to begin supporting the queer community that companies need to step up to take.
So yes. If you support the queer community you will have to stop eating Chick-fil-a. This was probably my hardest one to let go. As a company that actively donates to anti-LGBTQ+ organizations, it’s simply unethical to support their business. But I know. The Chick-fil-a sauce is so good (hot take: I think it’s overrated). This is the cost of walking the walk. If you support LGBTQ+ communities as an ally, it’s time to start critically thinking about the organizations that you support in your life and if they are actively harming queer communities. Taking time to research whether that rainbow logo is performative or productive may make more of a difference than you think.