Rainbow capitalism is all the rage this Pride Month, but the workforce of tomorrow expects more activism

Friday, June 17, 2022 by Robinhood Snacks |
A Pride protest near NYC’s Stonewall Inn (Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images)

A Pride protest near NYC’s Stonewall Inn (Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images)

So many rainbow logos… This Pride Month, a lot of companies are showing support through cheeky ad campaigns, social posts, and logos (think: Uber’s rainbow cars in its app). On Wednesday, President Biden signed an executive order geared toward protecting the record-breaking 7% of American adults — and 21% of Gen Z adults — who identify as LGBTQ+. But the community’s weathering a harsh climate:

  • State legislators have proposed an unprecedented ~300 anti-LGBTQ+ bills this year — many targeting transgender people and their access to healthcare.
  • Meanwhile: The leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that could overturn Roe v. Wade has raised concerns over the future of same-sex marriage.

Pride for sale... Corporate Pride participation has surged as companies seek to promote inclusive images. But many of the companies sponsoring parade floats also fund lawmakers who support anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. Powerhouses like Amazon, AT&T, and Comcast have collectively donated ~$3M to anti-LGBTQ+ causes in recent years. Meanwhile, companies that’ve spoken out against anti-LGBTQ+ bills have done so inconsistently:

  • Apple quietly lobbies against anti-LGBTQ+ legislation under the leadership of Tim Cook, America’s most prominent publicly gay CEO. It’s the only company that lobbied against an Iowa bill that bars trans girls and women from participating in K-12 and collegiate sports.
  • Disney chose not to take a public stance on Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill until it passed. When employees protested, Disney announced it would donate $5M to LGBTQ+ orgs like the Human Rights Campaign. But the HRC rejected the funds, and Gov. Ron DeSantis revoked Disney’s special tax status.

Rainbow capitalism is a tough sell… and logos aren’t enough. An overwhelming 93% of Americans believe LGBTQ+ people should have equal work opportunities, but nearly half of LGBTQ+ workers have experienced unfair treatment at work — including being fired, not hired, or harassed because of their identity. Now a growing number of workers and consumers expect employers to prevent anti-LGBTQ legislation and provide an equitable workplace.