June, a month known to the majority of Canadians as the transition month between spring and summer. The month of t-shirts, BBQs, graduation ceremonies, and summer break. However, to roughly just over 1 million Canadians it means much more. It’s a month celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ+ communities) social and self-acceptance. It also recognizes LGBTQ+ achievements, legal rights, and pride. Pride can motivate people to strive for success and act with compassion. It forces us to consider other’s viewpoints and opinions, as well as our own.
Pride month focuses on the remembrance of those strong individuals that paved the way for June to be the month it is today. It is also a way for the younger generation to learn from, remember and build on where things should go in the future. That statement, however, is not focused on an individual alone. That statement should be focused on corporate, small business, and individual Canadian companies as well.
All too often as a Gay man walking around numerous cities, towns, or villages throughout Canada, I would look at different storefronts and not see a single pride flag (or very few) in May. Come June 1st however; there is suddenly an abundance of flags in the windows or stickers on the doors. Walk by the same window again on July 1st and suddenly the flags and stickers are gone. That is what members of the LGBTQ+ communities (furthermore known as The Community) have come to know as pride capitalization.
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When it comes to pride capitalization, the question becomes whether companies that advertise pride acceptance for the month of June are actual supporters or just in it to capitalize on a movement gaining power and acceptance year over year. If you as a company put up a flag in the window of your store for just 30 days a year, does that mean you only accept my community for those 30 days? Or do you just want the money that that flag could draw in for the 30 days? It’s a sticker on a window. If you do support the community, is there harm in leaving it up? Or are you afraid of retribution once the month is over? Fear of retribution is again what pride month is looking to eliminate through education and acceptance.
Another example of pride capitalization is when companies change their product labels for pride month. That all in itself is not a harmful practice as long as the company supports other initiatives throughout the year or a portion of sales for specific products for the whole year are donated to The Community charities. The real problem comes from companies that change their product labels for the month but continue in other harmful actions. For example, they will support, donate to and advertise in countries that are known and proven to be detrimental, dangerous, and even deadly to members of The Community. If companies change their product label here in Canada but will not in Russia or other Homophobic countries, they are capitalizing on our rights and freedoms as Canadians and members of our Community.
Showing Support Year-Round:
If companies truly want to support members of the Community year-round, the options are endless. There is a list of charities a company can support here. There are also numerous local organizations that have been supportive to me and many others over the years. This includes sports organizations like the Cabbagetown Group Softball League.
Support is not a month-long endeavor. This applies to pride as well as Black history month in February and National Indigenous History month also in June. It’s something all Canadians and people as a global community need to learn to become part of and accept. We as one people and one family should, can, and will always fight for the rights of anyone who feel like they need, deserve, or require it for not just one month or months, but all year long.
Our team at Shulman & Partners understands that pride is not just a 30-day celebration. We show our support all year round by continuously sharing content that will benefit the LGBTQ+ community. Be sure to check your own practices and join us in celebrating pride 365 days of the year.