June is Pride Month, a month dedicated to further awareness, understanding and cultural acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+)* people.
As well as acknowledging the ongoing struggle for civil rights experienced by the LGBTQ+ community, Pride Month also commemorates the Stonewall riots, which took place in 1969 New York. The protests resulted from a police raid of a gay bar during a time when even dressing up as a member of the opposite sex was illegal.
The Stonewall riots catalysed LGBTQ+ activism both in the States and the rest of the world. Fifty-two years later, and much hard work has gone into the civil rights of the community. However, there is still more work to be done.
More than ever, businesses are under pressure to improve their internal LGBTQ+ practices. However, this has led to ‘rainbow-washing’, a distasteful practice in which companies only show support in marketing terms – typically by using a rainbow-coloured version of their logo during Pride Month – and doing nothing else to support the community for the remainder of the year.
Of course, working towards LGBTQ+ equality and diversity in the workplace is a key endeavour for the LGBTQ+ movement. As such, companies should ensure they have policies in place to defend LGBTQ+ rights and support the cause. While these policies should be implemented for the right reasons and not just credit, companies who ‘get it right’ are recognised and appreciated by the community.
At Eurotrader, we are very clear on what we consider to be LGBTQ+ friendly companies and, consequently, what we class as LGBTQ+ friendly trading. Our criteria stem beyond just businesses that happen to have, say, LGBTQ+ members of their senior management; rather, we acknowledge the businesses that follow inclusive policies and practices.
Identifying LGBTQ+ friendly companies for your portfolio
The Human Rights Campaign’s annual Corporate Equality Index (CEI), which tracks company LGBTQ+ policies, is an excellent starting point.
According to the Corporate Equality index, 767 places were designated as the “Best Places To Work for LGBTQ Equality” in 2021. The figure may not be that impressive, but it had come a long way from the 13 first companies constituting the index when it was first launched in 2002.
For example, Google [Alphabet Inc. (GOOG)] has long been a strong supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, the company has a specific support group for the LGBTQ+ community, known as “Gayglers”. What’s more, Google provides a clear statement about inclusivity, diversity, and welcoming underrepresented communities in the workplace.
Then, we have IBM. IBM was among the first companies to include a nondiscrimination policy in 1984, and it has continued to support diversity and equality through various campaigns. For example, IBM’s “Be Equal” initiative pursues an open and welcoming environment regardless of sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity. Further, IBM does reverse mentoring, where LGBTQ+ employees mentor up the business to someone very senior. The purpose is to allow them to work with people and units to exchange information on challenges LGBTQ+ workers may face.
Finally, the Coca-Cola Company (KO) has scored 100% on the Corporate Equality Index every year since 2006. In addition, the multinational giant formed a Business Resource Group specifically to address LGBTQ+ issues. The company also supports various actions, projects, and initiatives towards LGBTQ+ rights, such as the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and The Trevor Project.
*This article follows GLAAD’s guidelines (Media Reference Guide – 10th edt) in using the respective terminology.