The LGBTQ+ community has become centered in the ongoing sociopolitical space debate over the past year, with an unfortunate focus on the rights of transgender people and their freedom to exist as how they identify. They say that history doesn’t repeat but echoes, and we’re seeing that happen in real time, magnified by a contentious presidential election. 

As Pride Month comes to a close, we’ve observed an unfortunate side-effect of this phenomenon. There has been a muted show of support for the LGBTQ+ community by public figures, corporations, and brands this year. While it’s difficult to tie this phenomenon directly to the political climate, it’s not difficult to see why some would draw that conclusion. In recent years, Target, who has historically been one of the most active participants during Pride Month with their Pride merch line, saw several instances of disruption at their stores from homophobic shoppers. Bud Light saw a significant amount of conservative backlash from its partnership with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney last year. 

PR professionals play a pivotal role in helping organizations effectively engage with the LGBTQ+ community. The following are guidelines to keep in mind to ensure that authenticity and purpose are represented in communications efforts, particularly beyond Pride Month.

Advocate for Pro-LGBTQ+ Legislation 

PR professionals should encourage their clients and leadership to actively engage in advocating for legislative measures that support LGBTQ+ rights. This includes participating in advocacy groups, signing petitions, and publicly endorsing efforts that promote equality. Organizations can use their platforms to amplify the voices advocating for inclusive policies and protections.

Support and Amplify LGBTQ+ Charities and Non-Profits 

It’s crucial for organizations to support LGBTQ+ charities and non-profits that are actively working to advance equality. This support can include financial contributions, providing platforms for visibility, and collaborating on initiatives that positively impact the community. Highlighting successful partnerships and initiatives helps showcase the tangible impact of their support.

Implement Inclusive Policies and Protections 

Creating inclusive policies and protections within the workplace is essential. This involves establishing non-discrimination policies, offering comprehensive health benefits including gender-affirming care, and fostering a supportive environment for LGBTQ+ employees. Communicators should communicate these initiatives internally and externally to demonstrate their commitment to inclusivity.

Maintain Year-Round Support 

Authenticity requires consistent support throughout the year, not just during Pride Month. Developing a comprehensive year-round strategy that includes regular social media updates, community engagement events, and ongoing advocacy efforts helps sustain visibility and support for the LGBTQ+ community. 

Respond to Backlash with Clarity and Strength 

Inevitably, organizations supporting LGBTQ+ rights may face backlash. It’s crucial to respond with clear and unwavering statements that reaffirm their commitment to equality. Having a crisis communication plan in place enables organizations to respond promptly and consistently, aligning their messaging with their values and standing firm in their support for LGBTQ+ rights.

All of this advice should be heeded even as Pride Month ends. With a highly divisive election looming and the future of LGBTQ+ rights uncertain, organizations stand to lose goodwill among those they serve by remaining silent. They will be judged not by their surface-level messages of support, but for their sustained commitment to equality. In these challenging times, standing up for equality can be a powerful statement that resonates beyond corporate walls, influencing positive change in society at large.