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  • Writer's pictureBen Pechey

Rainbow Season

All this month I am visiting my archives to bring you messages I have shared with you before that are just as relevant today, and need the airtime now - restyling the looks I shot then, to show you that nothing has really changed when it comes to LGBT+ rights and needs! Lets jump back to June 2021…

Yes, my darlings, we’re in June, and that marks commercial Pride, or as it is treated by brands, rainbow season. The tide of emails bestowing the virtues of brands slapping rainbows on x,y,z started mid-spring. I will say this is very much behind the scenes, as I receive PR emails and requests, and have been in the game for years. I always expect the next year to be better, but we always end up with a different version of the same crap we never wanted in the first place.

I will always call this behaviour out because there is never any direct positive impact on the community. The campaigns focus on what the cis-het PRs think is a priority, and of late this has pretty much excluded 70% of the LGBTQIA+ community. We survived the hijack of the rainbow for the NHS in 2020, but I still think so much of commercial Pride is just rainbow season for brands that could absolutely do better.

However, I will commend these brands for at least trying to be prepared. There will still be so many brands that realise it is Pride season right now and scramble a campaign together, which is always so hectic to be part of, with an email on the 5th, and a deadline on the 7th - CHAOS!

I know some people may suggest that I am being ungrateful, but just like Halloween or my birthday - Pride is the same time every year. Pride traces its roots to the Stonewall riots and the first movement against the oppression of the Police, which was the 28th of June, to the 3rd of July 1969. Thus three weeks on either side is a healthy amount of time to mark this occasion in the LGBTQIA+ calendar.

For brands that are still building their plans for celebrating Pride, I thought I could offer you some advice as an LGBTQIA+ community member and Diversity and Inclusivity consultant.

- Do some research!

I am sick of being told that Pride is only about sexuality, love is love and partying. Whilst that all sounds lovely, it is only one aspect of a myriad of reasons that Pride exists - so get yourself on the internet and do the work. Or pay an expert (hey, book in a zoom call with me) to help you facilitate your wishes!

- Tell us what you are doing!

Don’t support Pride by only lining your pockets. Tell me which products will be delivering funds to LGBTQIA+ causes, and tell me how much those partners and charities will actually see. 5% of profits is standard practice, and in my eyes not quite good enough.

- Be representative

Social media campaigns, panels and talks are all great ways for brands to create activations over Pride. However, don’t bother if you are only going to place thin, cis, white faces in those activations. Do your research, and represent the community. This means trans people of colour, intersex representation, and a variety of sexualities. In short, we need to see a diverse representation of intersectional people from within the community.

- Cough up some cash

I get it, times are tough, but that does not excuse the price of participation during Pride. As I mentioned if you have a product, consider the donation amount. If you are creating an activation to mark Pride, then ensure that you pay all the queer talent involved and please don’t play the what’s your fee / what’s your budget shoot out - pay everyone the SAME!! Also, consider making a stand-alone donation to a charity that supports less mainstream causes.

- Commit beyond Pride

The community is here every day, all year long. If you have enjoyed getting in on the action during Pride, then consider how you can support us outside of Pride season. Maybe think about other memorial days, or even just LGBTQIA+ history month support. There is always more to be done, and it needs to be done by allies and supporters!

That's a great place to start, and I really hope brands and individuals do better this year and give us so much more than just Rainbow season!


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