This year, Pride Month looked very different, with many parades canceled or postponed. However this presented a unique opportunity to really utilise LGBTQ content while there was, and still is, a push towards online media.
The LGBTQ community is a unique prospect in publishing, with the famed buying power of the LGBTQ community’s ‘pink money’ being a driving force for companies to specifically market towards them. Many companies however, are still attempting to understand what they should or should not do when it comes to how they interact with the LGBTQ community, and how they can build their relationships with the community.
So the question is, at the conclusion of another Pride Month, how can companies publish for an LGBTQ audience in a way that is meaningful, and not just for one month in the year?
The short answer of course is being a true ally, the idea of which has really changed over the years. At the start of the civil rights movement, visibility was ground-breaking and it had incredible value. Today, that visibility is just the very minimum.
To give your support to the LGBTQ community in 2020 is a very different thing, and the expectations that come with that have changed too. Publishing for and building a relationship with an LGBTQ audience requires more than visibility as part of your company or content strategy.
What is meaningful in terms of corporate allyship is wider support for the LGBTQ community. The buying power of the LGBTQ community can be really powerful. The right way to build conscientious relationships with this audience is to respect this power in a sincere and sustainable way.
Giving back to the community can be understood as an exchange. In return for that buying power from more privileged parts of the LGBTQ community, the expectation is that businesses benefiting from this will give back to the least privileged parts of the LGBTQ community, generally trans POC. This way, pink money still benefits those most disenfranchised parts of the LGBTQ community.
So, in real terms how do you give back to the community, how can you be an ally? The answer with all of the knowledge above in mind, is advocacy, and supporting the community. It sounds simple, and in many ways it is, but it also needs to be undertaken with empathy and sensitivity.
Support of the community should be a year-round endeavor, a relationship with the community that is built upon. Publishing for an LGBTQ audience means that your company should take steps to ensure that they reflect the beliefs of the community, advocate for the rights of that community, and support the community while not commodifying them. Listen to the voices of diversity in your company. Take steps to educate your company, and give back to the minority audiences you have, or you want to gain.
The LGBTQ community knows that they are being marketed towards, and there is real power as a publisher in getting their business. If you’re publishing for that community and gaining their business, that’s fantastic. In doing so comes the responsibility to build a relationship with that minority. Educate your company on how to interact with that community and what ways you can give back to it. When all of that is done you can consider your company an ally of the LGBTQ community.
Check out these resources below to see which ways you can give back to the LGBTQ community this Pride:
The Human Rights Campaign
Solutions Not Punishment Collaborative
Sylvia Rivera Law Project
Outhouse - Community Resource Centre
Transgender Equality Network Ireland - NGO supporting trans people
BeLong To - LGBT youth service
Content Specialist, VideoElephant