It’s been two years since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality in all U.S. states, and this week marks 48 years since the Stonewall riots in New York City. On June 28, 1969, violent demonstrations broke out between LGBTQ patrons of the Stonewall Inn and police who attempted to raid the bar. Stonewall was a watershed moment for the modern LGBTQ rights movement, and it’s been commemorated annually ever since.
Today, remembrance of this momentous event takes the form of Pride events every June. People around the world celebrate the progress that has been made for LGBTQ rights and liberation over the past half century, as well as speak out to promote further decreased marginalization of people who are underrepresented or oppressed.
Pride Month 2017 is coming to a close, and the past few weeks have been filled with parades, street fairs, performances and other events. Many of these were sponsored by companies, from banks to mobile carriers. NYC Pride alone had 61 corporate sponsors this year.
Some people have expressed skepticism of brands sponsoring, retrofitting their logos with rainbow colors or otherwise participating in Pride, arguing that these companies are opportunistic, or simply looking to get in on the party — in some cases without providing substantial support for marginalized groups broadly.
Companies should be aware of these concerns when they acknowledge or celebrate Pride. Many intend, through their participation, to signal that they value LGBTQ rights as human rights, and that demonstrating this is worth any pushback they may face, including from potential customers whose values differ. They aim to convey solidarity, allyship and oneness, often in a symbolic way. Many take it a step further and offer support or donations to organizations dedicated to human rights work.
“If you do it for the right reasons, rather than it just being a billboard for your product, you will build trust that you are there because you want to be an ally,” said Tiffany Apczynski, vice president of public policy and social impact at Zendesk, in an interview with MarketWatch.
Click through to see how various brands celebrated Pride this year.