Celebrate Pride Authentically in The Startup World

Beka Ventham

Pride month is an important reminder that not so long ago there was extreme inequality when it came to sexual identity. Whilst there is still a long way to go, celebrating how far the LGBT+ community has come is worth shouting about.

Being part of the cheer squad on the sidelines is one thing but how do we authentically lift the LGBT+ community up and be part of the ongoing journey as a startup?

Brief History of Pride Month

Pride month was initially established in response to the Stonewall riots to raise awareness, educate and push for LGBT+ rights. 

The Stonewall riots happened in New York city in June 1969. Police attempted to raid a popular gay bar and in response the community rose up and protested the mistreatment.

In 2019 the New York police department issued an apology and the Stonewall Inn has since become a national monument in the US. 

Pride month is an annual occasion now to praise progress, show allyship, raise awareness and push for equal rights.

How to Get Pride Right as a Startup

We’re excited to show our support but rainbow washing is lazy, uninvested and fairly predictable so how have big brands got it right and how can we learn from them as startups?

Stay Away from the Month of June

Pride month is in June, consumers know it, brands know it and the community sure as hell knows it.

In August 2020, Argos shared a short video advertising garden renovation and showed a same sex couple with their children.

It wasn’t a big song and dance for pride, it was an authentic advert for garden renovation that advertised the products, highlighted equality and made a stand.

Integrating diversity into your marketing strategy is a great way to establish inclusion as you launch your startup because it sets the benchmark moving forward. 

Represent the Community

Calvin Klein has an ongoing campaign that started in June last year which uses a much more diverse range of models including icons from the LGBT+ community.

If you want to celebrate a cause properly, lean on the heroes of that cause. It’s genuine, considerate and will get the attention of the audience you’re trying to reach.

Make it a Way of Life

Clean&Clear are the UK’s leading skincare range for teenagers. Since 2019 they have been running a hugely inclusive campaign “love the skin you’re in” and they’re doing everything right.

They’ve partnered with key members of the LGBT+ community, they focus on individuality and confidence to be different plus they backed their campaign with a donation to AKT to support vulnerable young people across the UK.

Encourage Change

P&G’s fairy liquid made a credible commitment when they removed the ‘y’ from their branding and pushed out their ‘Fair’ liquid. This was part of their campaign to encourage families to talk about LGBT+ together as a unit in safety. 

Previously P&G released a documentary about their journey as a company to accept the LGBT+ community and integrate equality into company policy.

Be Raw

If you aren’t a transgender person you won’t also know the subtle challenges experienced day to day. Starbucks ran a really emotional campaign about a young transgender person trying out their chosen name during transition.

This inexplicable consideration for those moments showed a sensitivity that everyone appreciated. It was authentic and it mattered. 

Don’t Just Talk

Talk is cheap. 

Not for Wagamama’s though.

Wagamama’s voiced their support of the community and then introduced gender neutral toilets in 40% of their restaurants in support of the first transgender pride.

Action is always impressive and it leaves a lingering memory. A great way to celebrate pride that makes a difference. 

Spotlight on LGBT+ Startup Growth Support

StartOut

A prominent community that supports LGBTQ startup leaders by offering educational and networking opportunities.

Learn more here.

Backstage Capital

Less than 10% of all venture capital deals go to Women, People of Color, and LGBT founders.

Other VCs see this as a pipeline problem. They see it as the biggest opportunity in investment.

Backstage Capital has invested in more than 170 companies led by underrepresented founders.

Learn more here.

Lesbians Who Tech

To prepare for the work ahead, we must supply our leaders with the necessary tools. And Lesbians Who Tech need your voice and your guidance during this pivotal moment in our global history to do just that. 

Learn more here.

“Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success”

Edward Everett Hale

Let’s continue to be authentic in our allyship, offer what we can, learn, teach and be part of celebrating the resilient and beautiful LGBT+ community this month and every month.

Happy Pride 2021!

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