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How UK Businesses Can Avoid Rainbow-Washing this Pride Month

Pride Month is a big part of any corporate calendar, especially as companies try to do more to make their workplace more LGBT-inclusive and show support for their queer employees. However, even with the best intentions, many businesses are often guilty of performative allyship during this month-long event, and not doing any substantive work that actually helps members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Suppose you’re worried about how to approach Pride Month this year and want to ensure your efforts are ones of genuine allyship. By reaching out to independent queer businesses, like Rainbow & Co , you can make sure your advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community comes from the right place - and will truly make a difference to queer individuals in the UK.

Why do companies celebrate Pride Month?

Celebrated in June each year, Pride Month is a month-long event that celebrates and commemorates LGBTQ+ communities around the world. Pride Month first began after the Stonewall riots in 1969; these protests marked a significant milestone in the fight for LGBTQ+ equality across the world.

Today, Pride Month is celebrated not just by the queer community and our allies, but also businesses worldwide who want to show their support for LGBTQ+ rights both inside and outside their workplace. However, as more and more companies begin adding Pride Month to their annual corporate calendar and marketing budget, many are becoming guilty of tokenistic allyship to the LGBTQ+ community - also known as rainbow-washing

What is rainbow-washing?

Rainbow-washing is when businesses signal their support for the LGBTQ+ community, usually during Pride Month, without actually doing anything to help queer individuals. This might look like adding rainbow colours to their marketing materials or logo, launching a limited edition Pride range like Primark and Vans, or even selling branded rainbow merchandise.

If businesses do any of this surface-level marketing, without actually supporting the LGBTQ+ community, they’re considered to be rainbow-washing. Not only does this beg the question of whether these companies actually extend their support for LGBTQ+ equality outside of June, but it can directly exploit the community these businesses are profiting from.

When it comes to LGBTQ+ employees in your workforce, rainbow-washing and performative allyship can have a detrimental effect. Recent studies have shown that only 52% of UK LGBTQ+ employees are comfortable being out in the work environment, while one in five are currently considering resigning from their current position because of the lack of focus or action on true LGBTQ+ inclusion.

In short, by actively working to avoid rainbow-washing during Pride Month and instead focusing on how you can genuinely give back to the LGBTQ+ community, your queer employees will quickly feel safe, seen - and valued in the workplace.

How Rainbow & Co can help you avoid rainbow-washing this Pride Month

As a queer and autistic-owned independent business, Rainbow & Co are on hand to help you organise an inclusive (and impactful!) Pride Month at work. There are so many benefits of working with an independent LGBTQ+ business to support queer employees, and Pride Month is a great place to begin.

Our team can offer support and advice on:

  • Celebrating Pride Month in the most impactful way

  • Avoiding rainbow-washing

  • Supporting LGBTQ+ employees during Pride Month

  • Creating an LGBT-inclusive work environment

  • Expanding your training to promote LGBTQ+ equality

We can also provide businesses with helpful learning resources, like our Pocket Guide to LGBTQIA+ Identities . Perfect for distributing among your company and adding to your welcome pack for new starters, this handy booklet breaks down 40+ LGBTQ+ sexuality and gender identities in easy-to-understand language. This resource is an educational and fun way to let queer employees know your company is genuinely committed to LGBT inclusion.

Other ways to be a better ally this Pride Month

As well as working hard to avoid performative gestures and rainbow-washing, businesses can demonstrate authentic advocacy to the LGBTQ+ community by doing the following.

Work with LGBTQ+ Businesses

Give directly to the LGBTQ+ community by working with queer-owned businesses during Pride Month. With so many great companies run by members of the LGBTQ+ community, you’re sure to find one that appeals to your company, be it a local business or one in a similar industry!

Perhaps you reach out to a queer creative to help you design marketing materials and merchandise for Pride Month, or even invite an LGBTQ+ business owner to your office as an exclusive guest speaker. Whoever you reach out to, there are plenty of queer independent businesses that can support your company as you offer your own support to LGBTQ+ individuals. 

Donate to LGBTQ+ Charities

Whether it’s the profits from your Pride Month campaigns or just a standalone donation, show you’re standing in true solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community by donating to queer charities.

There are absolutely tons of LGBTQ+ charities in the UK that do some amazing work for the queer community, including:

  • LGBT Foundation provides health and wellbeing support to LGBTQ+ individuals in Manchester.

  • Stonewall campaigns for LGBT rights and is the largest LGBT rights organisation in Europe.

  • Colours Youth Network supports LGBTQ+ young people of colour.

  • George House Trust provides services to people living with, and affected by, HIV.

  • Galop helps LGBTQ+ victims and survivors of abuse and violence in the UK.

  • Sparkle supports the UK transgender community and organises the annual Sparkle Weekend in Manchester, the world's largest transgender event.

  • London Friend supports the health and mental wellbeing of the LGBT community in and around London.

  • Proud Trust delivers youth work and one-to-one support to LGBTQ+ young people across Greater Manchester.

  • Mind Out provides a mental health service for LGBTQ+ individuals in the UK.

  • Just Like Us works with schools and young people across the UK to ensure LGBT+ young people can thrive.

  • Hidayah supports LGBTQI+ Muslims in the UK.

  • Mermaids supports trans, non-binary and gender-diverse children, young people and their families

Who Do We Work With?

The team at Rainbow & Co are on hand to support businesses of all shapes and sizes in building inclusive and accepting environments for their staff. No matter the industry you’re in, or how many LGBTQ+ employees work for the company, we can advise you on the best way to make your LGBTQ+ employees truly feel valued - and how you can be an authentic and genuine ally to the community. 

Companies we have worked with previously include Hitatchi, Netflix Netherlands, OutBritain, and EDF Energy.

How to get in touch

You can get in touch with our team by filling out the form on our contact page . Alternatively, you can reach us via email at

Image of Tilly, a smiling woman with blonde hair and blue eyes.

Tilly Brogan

Tilly is a queer Freelance Copywriter based in Manchester. She balances her time between working  with LGBTQ+ organisations and women’s rights charities - and people watching in various Manchester cafes. She is also a proud lesbian. You can read more of her work here.

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