Three-quarters of LGBT people want more support from companies—and not just for Pride

New research suggests that LGBT+ people want companies to implement support services, instead of just sponsoring Pride events or using the rainbow flag in their marketing.

The latest research by YouGov indicates that queer people would prefer businesses to actively implement networks that will support LGBT+ staff and customers over actions such as paying to have a float at a Pride parade.

The study of 1,711 adults in the UK—136 of whom were LGBT+—revealed that nearly three quarters of LGBT+ people said they would feel “more positive” if companies introduced services or policies to support their LGBT+ customers.

In comparison, half of LGBT+ allies, and more than one third (36 percent) of the general British population, said they felt this way.

Two thirds of LGBT+ people also said they would feel more positive if companies introduced policies to support their LBGT+ colleagues, compared to 48 percent of LGBT+ supporters, and more than one third (34 percent) of the general population.

However, a lower proportion—65 percent—of LGBT+ respondents said they would feel happier if their company sponsored or took part in a Pride event.

And nearly six in 10 (59 percent) of LGBT+ people surveyed said that they would feel more positive if companies used the rainbow flag in their marketing to show support for the LGBT+ community.

Chantel Le Carpentier, a researcher who carried out the survey for YouGov, told PinkNews: “Our data shows that while the majority of LGBT+ people support brands using the rainbow pride flag in their marketing to show their support, a greater number would be more impressed by a company that introduced policies actively supporting LGBT+ employees or customers.

“This is certainly something crucial for brands to consider when it comes to drawing up their marketing plans for the next Pride season, and of course in the coming year ahead.”

Similarly to LGBT+ respondents, a lower percentage of respondents who said they were supporters of gay rights, or were part of the general population, said that they would feel more positively about businesses sponsoring a Pride event or using the rainbow flag for marketing purposes.

Drag Queens Crystal Couture (right) and Domini (left) pose for a photo with British Airways staff at Brighton Pride in August. (Tim P. Whitby/Tim P. Whitby/Getty)

Commenting on the results, Sam Bjorn, a spokesperson from Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, which marched at Pride in London and Brighton Pride this year, told PinkNews: “Companies need to do more for LGBT+ employees than marching in Pride or using the rainbow flag in their advertising.

“More important are the policies and practices that organisations have and how they affect all LGBT+ people and all people who face persecution and oppression that was once targeted at us.”

Bjorn also criticised companies, including British Airways and private security company Serco, for using “Pride to show how tolerant they are while remaining complicit in the violent persecution of migrants, including LGBT+ people fleeing persecution.”

In July, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants criticised British Airways for sponsoring Brighton Pride, given that it was still deporting migrants, including LGBT+ asylum seekers.


The exterior of Costa coffee store changes it’s logo to include the Pride colours in the run up to Pride in London in July. ( Leon Neal/Getty)

More than 400 companies sponsored or took part in Pride in London’s parade in July this year.

Tanya Compas, a youth engagement officer at UK Black Pride, told PinkNews that the new statistics were unsurprising.

She said: “To me, these results just show what I already knew, those of us from the LGBTQ+ community can see the tokenism of our identities by companies during pride month, compared to the CIS-Het [cisgender-heterosexual] population who just don’t get it or don’t care to understand, because it doesn’t affect them.”

Compas added that the results show that companies need to implement support services for LGBT+ people, highlighting an incident in November 2017 when Topshop staff reportedly barred non-binary performance artist Travis Alabanza from using the changing room of their choice.

“Look Topshop, they tend to be the first people to put rainbows outside their flagship store in Oxford Circus, but equally their changing rooms are not safe spaces for our trans and gender non-conforming siblings,” said Compas, adding: “They’re ally-ship was fake, they were and are—like many companies—chasing the pink pound.”

Compas continued: “Every year that pride comes around, I see these companies coming out with these really disingenuous campaigns including LGBTQ+ people, in ‘support’ of pride, but many often neglect Black and people of colour (POC )from their campaigns, our trans and gender non-conforming siblings, our otherwise abled siblings, our muslim siblings…They keep it safe.

“There seems to be more emphasis on our CIS-Het white ‘allies’ than people from the community itself.”