How to make your marketing (and business) more LGBTQ+ friendly

This article was adapted from my newsletter Thusfar, Untitled. You can subscribe to my newsletter here.

Pride was a riot before it was ever a parade or a party. It’s time to stand up and support your LGBTQ+ friends, family, employees, and customers.

Let’s talk about the rainbow elephant in the room. It’s Pride month baby.

Rainbow washing. *sigh*. There is a lot of nuance in this topic so please bear with me. We really need to talk about both the joy and the bullshit June brings to the world of marketing.

Am I glad that brands can put their support for the LGBTQ+ community out there? Yes. Am I glad we are (for now) not back into section 28? Yes. Does changing your logo to a pride flag for 30 days make you inclusive or safe? No.

Especially with all the shit going down in the US and the UK at the moment, we need to talk about performative inclusivity.

Instead of changing your logo to a pride flag for 30 days, here are some things you can do to make your marketing more inclusive:

  1. always default to gender neutral pronouns (they/them) unless referring to a specific person with other specific pronouns
  2. assess if you’re making assumptions based on gender. For example, exclusively referring to it as “maternity leave” rather than “parental leave”
  3. does your content subscribe to heteronormativity? The assumption that all couples, parents, house buyers etc. are made up of one man + one woman?
  4. wedding industry folks, this one is your for you:nAvoid the overuse of terms like “bride and groom”. Instead try “the happy couple”. We can take gender out of it
  5. use a variety of representation in your photos
  6. include pronouns of your team members on your meet the team page

This may lead to come challenging conversations, deep introspection, and hopefully a deeper understanding of how to be more aware and kinder towards the LGBTQ+ community.

Recommended reading: 5 ways web design and branding choices can impact accessibility

6 practices to implement internally to help LGTBQ+ employees feel safe

  1. Making your marketing more inclusive is a great place to start. But it means little if you don’t make your workplace a safe space for LGBTQ+ employees
  2. Why is it important? Because everyone deserves to feel safe in the workplace and workplace culture starts from the top
  3. Add “Pronouns” as a mandatory field in ALL forms, from recruitment through to employee surveys
  4. Make it mandatory for everyone in a leadership position to add their pronouns to their email signature
  5. Introduce and enforce a zero-tolerance harassment or bullying policy
  6. Create an LGBTQ+ employee resource group or society, where it is understood that membership is kept anonymous
  7. Include LGBTQ+ in your diversity reports and make a point of including LGBTQ+ folks in your senior leadership

If you run a business, or are in a leadership position, take time to educate yourself

The world is becoming a scarier place for the LGBTQ+ community. And we have a responsibility to ensure everyone feels safe at work.

Need an extra pair of eyes on your content to see if it’s inclusive? You’d be amazed how much heteronormativity can slip through the cracks. Get in touch about a content audit.

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