What is Pinkwashing?

July 01 2024

Pinkwashing is when companies display LGBTQ+ symbols, like the rainbow flag, especially during Pride Month or other significant events, to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community. However, this support often appears superficial, lacking meaningful actions or policies that truly benefit LGBTQ+ individuals.


The Issues with Pinkwashing

Superficial Support

Many companies that engage in pinkwashing offer only surface-level support. They might change their logo to a rainbow or participate in Pride parades, but they don't make real changes within their organizations. For example, they may:

  • Lack Inclusive Policies: They might not have policies that protect LGBTQ+ employees from discrimination.
  • Fail to Support LGBTQ+ Employees: They might not offer benefits like parental leave to LGBTQ+ employees or not consider certain possible needs like a gender-neutral bathroom.
  • Support Discriminatory Practices: They might continue to support politicians or practices that are harmful to the LGBTQ+ community.


Recognizing Authentic Support

To spot genuine support for the LGBTQ+ community, look for companies that:

  • Implement and Enforce Non-Discrimination Policies: These companies have clear policies that protect LGBTQ+ employees from discrimination and harassment.
  • Provide Benefits to LGBTQ+ Employees: Make available communication means were LGBTQ+ employees can express whether there are certain things the company could do to ensure a comfortable work environment.
  • Support LGBTQ+ Causes Year-Round: Genuine allies support LGBTQ+ causes not just during Pride Month but throughout the entire year.

Engage in Advocacy Beyond Tokenism: These companies take an active role in advocating for LGBTQ+ rights, pushing for real change beyond just surface-level gestures.


Why Understanding Pinkwashing Matters

Understanding pinkwashing is essential for holding corporations accountable. By recognizing when companies are just paying lip service to LGBTQ+ support, we can encourage them to make meaningful, lasting changes. This ensures that the support for the LGBTQ+ community is sincere and impactful, leading to a more inclusive and supportive society for everyone.