Amazon Canada shines a spotlight on LGBTQ+ artists during Pride

This is a side by side image. On the left side is an Asian woman. She has shorter hair and is wearing a white tank while smiling. The image on the right is her artistic self portrait of herself.

To celebrate Pride season in Canada, Amazon is showing solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community by shining the spotlight on queer employees and community groups throughout the country.

During the month of June, the company, along with its LGTBQ+ employee network, Glamazon, sponsored an art competition featuring work from LGBTQ+ employees throughout the country.

Selected artists had their work displayed on the Amazon Canada float during the Toronto Pride parade in June – something that will be repeated during Montréal Pride this coming weekend. Additionally, the art has been featured in galleries alongside other works from LGBTQ+ artists curated by Oleos & Canvas.

This year’s entrants highlight all the ways Pride allows them to embrace their own identity, break free from societal expectations and norms, find community, and discover their most authentic means of self-expression.

This is an artistic image of the Amazon logo on top of the Canadian Maple Leaf.
Amazon Canada is taking part in Pride parades across the country including Toronto, Vancouver and Montréal. (Getty Images)

Commenting on the company’s LGBTQ+ initiatives, Derek Hooey, president of Glamazon, tells PinkNews: “Amazon has given me the unique opportunity to help shape how we celebrate queer employees not just during Pride, but year-round.”

“Our #ProudToBe programming for 2023 encapsulates how we feel, that our employees’ authenticity dictates how we operate.”

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For Caixin Fan, who has been with the company for two years, her winning self-portrait is a representation of her journey of self-reflection and embracing her own authenticity. 

“I take pride in being a Chinese bisexual woman,” she says, “and I dedicate this journey to focus on my personal growth and development.”

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Adam Dwyer, the other winning artist, used his own experience of discovering his identity as inspiration for re-imaging the current Pride colours for contribution to the exhibition. 

“The rigid structure of the old Pride flag felt too constrictive,” he explains. “Many people fall outside the traditional meaning of queer but still identify as queer because they do not fit into the stereotypical heterosexual norm.”

This is a side by side image of art and artist. On the left side is a painting of stark and bold colours representing the Pride colours. On the right side is an image of the artist, Adam Dwyer. He is wearing a purple shirt.
Artist and Amazon employee Adam Dwyer reimagined the colours of the Pride flag for his winning submission. (Amazon)

Amazon Canada’s Pride initiative is about more than just art

Amazon’s commitment to its LGBTQ+ employees and the surrounding community goes beyond art exhibitions and floats in Pride parades and into outright philanthropy. 

The retailer supported Pride Toronto by packaging 6,000 boxes of donated items for at-risk LGBTQ+ persons in the greater Toronto area. Amazon Canada has also made charitable contributions in the thousands to community centres across the country, including a $5,000 (£3,915) donation to the Centre communautaire LGBTQ+ de Montréal along with licences to showcase Prime Video content for their queer movie nights for one year.

Throughout the Pride season, Amazon Canada participated in local Pride festivals and parades across the country, including the upcoming Pride celebration in Montréal, which runs through 13 August. 

In a statement, the company said it is a “proud supporter of its employee resource group, Glamazon which helps Amazon be a great place to work by educating and informing employees about the 2SLGBTQ+ community and opportunities.”

The Canadian chapter of Glamazon’s global network takes part in mentoring queer colleagues and allies to over 40,000 employees in the country around all things diversity and inclusion. This valuable employee resource group (ERG) has been around for over a decade and also plays a pivotal role in shaping diversity and inclusion policies for the company.

“Amazon and the Glamazon network can create an inclusive work environment where employees are encouraged to be their authentic selves,” says Dwyer.

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Fan agrees, and also believes that the Glamazon group actively works to help provide LGBTQ+ employees with opportunities for career growth and development. 

“They create an environment that allows me to develop skills that supports my personal growth,” she says. 

“These skills are lifelong skills that I can use in Amazon and in the future.”

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