Celebrating Pride: Lessons Learned and Brands Leading the Way

👉 Sign up for the CommerceNext newsletter  to stay connected within our community and receive ecommerce, retail and marketing insights.

Pride Month is a time for celebration, reflection and progress. It serves as an important reminder of the LGBTQ+ community’s resilience, struggles and victories throughout history. Many brands participate in Pride Month, translating their values of diversity and inclusion into impactful campaigns. 

According to data from Gallup, 7.6% of the U.S. population now identifies as LGBTQ+. Notably, this percentage is higher among younger generations: more than 1 in 5 members of Gen Z identify as LGBTQ+, along with nearly 10% of Millennials. These significant numbers underscore the importance of supporting and advocating for this community.

As we embark on Pride Month, it’s crucial to recognize the lessons we’ve learned over the years about supporting and advocating for the LGBTQ+ community.

1. Diversity and Equality in the Workplace

Whether it’s creating employee resource groups or engaging with leadership, there are numerous ways for organizations to foster inclusion within their workplaces. By embracing consistent marketing messaging throughout the year, companies can demonstrate their commitment to authenticity, building trust with LGBTQ+ consumers and beyond.

A great example of this is Amazon. Amazon has established employee resource groups such as Glamazon, which supports LGBTQ+ employees and advocates for inclusive policies and practices within the company. Glamazon hosts events, provides resources and fosters a sense of community among LGBTQ+ employees. Additionally, Amazon’s marketing efforts consistently highlight their commitment to diversity and inclusion, with campaigns that feature LGBTQ+ individuals and stories. During Pride Month, Amazon prominently showcases LGBTQ+ products and partners with LGBTQ+ organizations, but their commitment extends beyond just one month.

Another excellent example is Sephora. The retailer strongly promotes diversity in their workforce. As of 2023, they report that 14% of their employees identify as LGBTQ+.They have established the Sephora Accelerate program, which supports LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs and brands, providing them with mentorship, funding and a platform to showcase their products. Sephora’s marketing campaigns frequently feature LGBTQ+ models and influencers, celebrating diversity and inclusivity year-round. They also offer comprehensive training for their employees on inclusivity and the unique needs of LGBTQ+ customers. 

Brands Making a Difference Year-Round

Bombas, the socially conscious sock brand, showcases how companies can contribute to the LGBTQ+ community year-round with their “Pride-Giving” collection. For each purchase from this collection, Bombas follows their “one purchased = one donated” rule, ensuring that organizations supporting homeless individuals, including LGBTQ+ youth, receive essential care and clothing. This initiative sheds light on the challenges faced by homeless LGBTQ+ youth, providing them with a sense of community and support.

American Eagle’s partnership with influencer Olivia Ponton exemplifies the brand’s commitment to inclusivity. Their genderless collection, featuring T-shirts, boxers and shorts, celebrates individuality and self-expression. Additionally, American Eagle’s ongoing support of the It Gets Better Project, through a generous donation of $100,000, empowers and connects LGBTQ+ youth worldwide. By offering customers the opportunity to contribute to the organization, American Eagle creates a platform for collective action and progress.

Abercrombie & Fitch, through their “Proud Year-Round” campaign, goes beyond slogans to embed inclusivity in their brand identity. Their commitment to celebrating Pride 24/7, 365 days a year extends from their home office to their local community and social media platforms. With a remarkable $400,000 donation to The Trevor Project, a leading suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+ youth, Abercrombie & Fitch showcases its dedication to making a lasting impact. Their pride collection is a testament to the brand’s enduring support, transcending the boundaries of just one month.

Being an Ally: The Road to Progress

To truly support the LGBTQ+ community, being a good ally requires ongoing education and research. Engaging in conversations with the community and company leadership allows for the sharing of new ideas and perspectives. Approaching these discussions with curiosity and positive intent fosters an environment of mutual growth and understanding. By continuously amplifying the voices of the LGBTQ+ community, we can pave the way for a more inclusive society.

Etsy has taken significant steps to support the LGBTQ+ community by promoting LGBTQ+ sellers and their products on their platform, especially during Pride Month. A quick search on Etsy reveals over 1,700 stores that offer gay and pride-related items, indicating that the platform attracts individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ and fosters a community of like-minded merchants. Additionally, Etsy provides resources and guidelines for sellers to help them create inclusive and welcoming shops. By learning from examples like Etsy and continuously supporting and amplifying LGBTQ+ voices, we can make meaningful progress toward a more inclusive and accepting society.

Pride Month serves as a powerful reminder of the LGBTQ+ community’s strength and resilience. As we celebrate Pride Month, let us not only reflect on the progress made but also recognize the work that still lies ahead. By embracing diversity and equality within our workplaces, supporting brands that champion inclusivity year-round and engaging in ongoing allyship, we can create a more inclusive world. Let this blog serve as a call to action, encouraging individuals and brands alike to be steadfast allies, consistently working towards a future where every person can live authentically and without discrimination. Together, we can build a world where Pride is celebrated every day.