News article

If you’re going to celebrate Pride, just adding a rainbow on your website won’t do

It’s Pride Month, the month dedicated to the LGBTQIA+ community. All throughout June, members of the community around the world, celebrate with everything from parades and festivals, to making rainbow cake.

Pride has been around, in some form or another for more than 50 years, which means we can learn a lot from the community. But what does this celebration for individuality and inclusivity have to do with your business and your website?

Championing a cause that’s important to you

When I was young, the community was referred to as the LGB community; lesbian, gay, and bisexual (although, it didn’t even include bisexual before I was born).

Also, when I was young, a website was just a website; a place to show what your company does, a handy thing to put on a billboard or business card for people to learn more, or a nice way to brag about yourself and your company.

Nowadays, we include a whole host of other people in the LGBTQIA+ community; transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, aromantic, genderfluid, pansexual and every other term (under the + notation).

Your website is no different. For some people it is their only point of sale, for others it is their main lead generator, and for everyone else, including those mentioned, it is an amalgamation of many cogs which are pivotal to a business.

Your website can also be a great way for you to demonstrate your commitment to a cause that’s important to you. You can showcase your charity work, share stories about projects, and show off the great work you do in your local community.

But it’s important to get this right.

Widening the Pride focus

Pride started as a movement for gay rights and a lot of people still refer to it as “gay pride”. Many companies sponsor Pride events and/or donate money to charities dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community, usually to those primarily affiliated with the gay community.

All of the support and visibility is great for the wider community, however, the media and non-LGBTQ+ population generally focus on the “g” – gay – and none of the other identities.

Transgender representation is slowly starting to become more common in society. A few notable names such as actor Elliot Page coming out as a trans man in late 2020, and singer Demi Lovato coming out as non-binary in May 2021 have helped.

Asexual representation is pretty much non-existent with the only positive media representation over the last few years, in the Western world, being BoJack Horseman and Everything’s Gonna Be OK.

As for intersex, queer, bisexual, and most other terms under the + umbrella, there isn’t much in the way of representation for them either. There are always more and more people coming out, such as recent announcement from ex-Coronation Street actress Matilda Freeman (she played Summer Spellman) that she is bisexual or chart-topping pop star Yungblud recently identifying as pansexual.

Support causes you believe in – but be genuine

If you and your business are passionate about supporting the LGBTQIA+ community, then your website is a great place to do that. You can share charitable endeavours, pictures of your team at Pride events, and stories that showcase the advice you’ve given to your LGBTQIA+ clients.

What you do have to be careful of, though, is “pinkwashing” or “gaywashing”. This is the practice of adding something to your branding or website aimed at promoting you as gay-friendly in order that you’re seen as progressive, tolerant, and modern.

This is an accusation that has been levelled at many large brands. Sainsbury’s have a dedicated web page where they claim to “proudly support the LGBT+ community”. This is despite the fact that, as of May 2021, the biggest single shareholder in the retailer was the Qatar sovereign wealth fund – a country where male homosexuality is illegal and can be punished with three years in prison.

If you’re in a charitable mood this June, donate some money to an LGBTQIA+ charity today. Commit to the cause and genuinely make a positive change to your local or the wider community. Share stories and positive messages about your LGBTQIA+ colleagues or clients.

What you shouldn’t do is simply add a rainbow filter to your logo and post one message on social media about supporting LGBTQIA+ rights. Trust me, it’s worse than not showing any support at all.

This goes for other causes also. If you support the NHS, it’s one of your chosen charities, and you post regularly about the good work you do, by all means, add a rainbow to your logo. If you’re just adding one because you want to look empathetic and relevant, have a good think about whether that’s the way you want to be seen.

Get in touch

As a business, we work with a lot of advisers and planners who do superb work in their community, and who passionately believe in local causes. When they then share stories of this on their website it resonates, because you can tell it’s genuine and that they mean it.

To find out how we can help you build a website that shares your story, please get in touch. Email [email protected] or call 0115 8965 300.

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