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The LGBTQ community is an increasing economic force: In the five years since Obergefell v. Hodges legalized gay marriage in the United States, for example, a new study estimates that gay weddings have contributed $ 3.8 billion to the economy. Read my lips: we love weddings! Moreover, 4.5 percent of American adults identify as LGBTQ, and only 66 percent of Generation Z identifies as exclusively heterosexual, so it appears that winning the favor of our community now would give you appreciating returns later, right?
Lightheartedness aside, it’s been a rollercoaster of a month, from the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on LGBTQ workplace discrimination (A distinction that only applies to companies with 15 or more employees, though) to the Trump administration rolling back transgender health care protections and pride organizations worldwide re-centering themselves in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
Research from UCLA’s LGBT Demographic Data Interactive and Gallup shows that queer populations experience higher levels of unemployment, food insecurity and socioeconomic instability, and these circumstances have likely been exacerbated by the global health crisis. Pride celebrations, normally a time for those struggling in our community to experience belonging and togetherness, are off the table in most parts of the world to help prevent the disease’s spread.
It’s a great time to show your support, do the work and go beyond splashing a rainbow filter over your company logo. And in fact, there’s a huge opportunity for business owners to use their platforms in a way that both amplifies important issues and wins the attention and allegiance of our community. So here are three ways to channel pride in a thoughtful, supportive way this year.
Acknowledge that black trans lives matter
Black trans people are incarcerated or killed at alarmingly higher rates, and the TGNB (transgender non-binary) community experiences far higher discrimination and marginalization than cisgender queer people. The danger is real, systemic and not going away fast enough.
“All Black Lives Matter” is emerging as an important message from the black LGBTQ community, most recently in a demonstration in Los Angeles, and the lived experiences of black queer people are unique within the LGBTQ space, despite much of mainstream queer content being originally derived from black queer culture such as voguing and the ballroom scene.
Learn about organizations that support black trans lives in your community, and follow or research projects specifically dedicated to supporting the black trans population. A few nonprofits to get you started include The LGBTQ Fund, The Okra Project, Trans Justice Funding Project and the Marsha P. Johnson Institute.
Highlight local organizations
If you’re unsure what statement to make, share details and donation instructions for local LGBTQ operations on your platform. This is a quick solution that leverages your platform for good while you internally navigate your company’s position and activism. Trust me, we’re watching; surveys indicate LGBTQ people spend 35 percent more time online than non-LGBTQ people, and 65 percent of queer couples met online versus 39 percent of non-queer couples. Translation: We’re online a lot and our significant others are too.
A huge number of local pride organizations have organized virtual roundtables, live concerts, interviews and other streaming events. It’s unusually easy this year to curate the content of queer initiatives into your own channels because more virtual content is being produced in general.
Know how your local pride organizations are adjusting, and if appropriate partner with or amplify the queer voices and influencers that are already active in your community.
Declare your commitments
I recently attended a virtual town hall spearheaded by business coach Rachel Rodgers that had over 3,000 small business owners in attendance. The powerful two-hour session empowered entrepreneurs to educate themselves and offered an anti-racism pledge with actionable guidelines, one tenet of which is to express a sincere, long-term commitment to do the work of becoming an anti-racism organization.
LGBTQ communities also want to see you express your commitment as a business. And ultimately, the market is changing: Consumers are more galvanized around their ethics and values than ever before and want to stand alongside brands that feel the same. Show us during pride month that you know the issues, and you’ll have our attention.
One last pro tip: You can show your solidarity with us the other 11 months of the year as well, and if you choose to do so, there will be less competition and more market share to capture. Our dollars and our allegiance are waiting.