Rainbow Washing is a term that has sprung up to describe a specific marketing tactic in which companies adopt LGBTQ+ symbols, particularly during Pride Month, in a bid to monetize the sentiments attached to these symbols. The LGBTQ+ community, being a $3.7 trillion economic powerhouse, often finds itself at the center of such corporate exploitation. Brands, big and small, often lean into the use of LGBTQ+ symbols, such as the rainbow flag, without offering substantial support to the community or creating inclusive workplaces.

This symbolic gesture of allyship, often void of any genuine support, is at the heart of Rainbow Washing. Consumers and the LGBTQ+ community are beginning to call out this performative allyship, pushing for more authentic representation and substantial corporate social responsibility.

Tips for Consumers:

As consumers, we have a responsibility to ensure that the brands we support align with our personal values. Here are some ways consumers can hold brands more accountable:

  • Research: Before buying rainbow-themed products during Pride Month, research the company’s practices. Does the brand continually participate in the community through funds, workshops, or onsite activations?
  • Ask Questions: Transparency is vital. Reach out to brands and inquire about their LGBTQ+ support, not just during Pride month but year-round.
  • Support LGBTQ+ Owned Brands: By consciously choosing to support LGBTQ+ owned businesses, you directly contribute to the community.