Pride is not a campaign

You and your content can and should make a difference. Sadly, it’s still needed

A bit too often, pride is still a campaign, either rainbowy gay-washed and too obvious or too carefully almost invisible, corporately ticking the box.  While the intentions are good, the execution still s*cks. 

A dear friend (M, 46) lives in London, the fantastic worldly open-minded, incredible, and culturally diverse metropolis. And he still doesn’t feel comfortable walking hand-in-hand with his husband.

Another dear friend (F, 28) was still afraid to come out. Anno 2023, she kept it hidden that she was living together with her girlfriend. Even in liberal The Hague Scheveningen, they both hesitate to show their affection openly.  Not only because of the ‘stink-eye’, also for the totally inappropriate comments by men ‘if they can participate.’

And how often do you still hear someone say ‘my partner’ instead of my husband or wife? A husband speaking about his caring husband and a wife speaking about her loving wife still don’t feel comfortable to them.

Correction, it’s not about comfort. It’s about acceptance. About being an equal part of today's society.


How you can help

  1. Diversity and inclusion in visuals
  2. Show that you care; it’s not a campaign
  3. Normalize what’s normal, all year round


It matters

We say we’re so open-minded, in reality, there’s still a too long way to go.

How can you, as a CMO, marketing manager, content producer, or any other job in marketing communications, make a difference? Very simple, normalize what's normal; be diverse and inclusive in your visuals, and show that you care.

Some stats on the broader diversity and inclusion picture. Unfortunately, I lost the source in my notes

  • 4 in the 10 people in Dutch society have a migration background, people of color
  • 1 is disabled or challenged, physically or mentally
  • and 1 is part of the LGBTQ+ community

Leaves 4 whites; of those, it should be equally 50-50 male and female.

On a representative scale, 2 out of 10 should be white and male.

Then, why the h*ll are most visuals still overpopulated with white males? And if there are any females, we’re still pushed into a gender-typical submissive role.

The same goes for the misrepresentation of people of color. When was the last time you saw a visual of a C-suite bobo that was not white?

And if LGBTQ+ is represented, it often is a bit too obvious and too much. As if they’re some different weird kind of species?



How you can make the difference

Unfortunately, it’s still needed to make a difference. There are a few things I can do as a privileged white straight female. I hope this inspires you to do the same.


1. Diversity and inclusion in visuals

Never ever ever say there are no visuals with people of color.

If you do a photoshoot, brief to be representative without stereotyping.

Or go to pexels.com, and search. Not on ‘black male’ or ‘black female.’ Just search on your topic, and you’ll be surprised how many amazing diverse, and representative pictures there are of all people and all communities.

Diversity and inclusion are already the norm on big platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Medium, and Pexels; why shouldn’t we marketers adapt?


2. Show that you care; it’s not a campaign

As a marketer, you can brief on Pride content. Yes, of course, you already do, yet 9 out of 10, it’s either too obvious gay-washing or too careful and invisible.

Briefing on Pride content is not about a campaign; it’s about acknowledging your fellows and showing them you care. Not only care about them as humans, but it’s also about caring for a diverse society where it’s still needed to have Pride awareness.


3. Normalize what’s normal, all year round

By normalizing a diverse and inclusive representation in all our visual content, we show that we care. 

Don’t stick to the rainbow in June or July as a Pride month.

Do it all year round with normal pictures of normal people. 


Food for thought

Time and time again, my heart breaks, noticing the awesomeness and pleasantly surprised-ness if my gay friends hear about my work-related efforts to normalize diversity and inclusion in brands’ content.

I hope to inspire you, privileged white marketing and content people, to do a better job. Not only during Pride, all year round. 

Ask yourself, is every piece of content I create representative of our society?


Mcdonald's leads the way

Instead of sticking to the rainbow logo on their social ava, Mcdonald's Netherlands takes it a step further. Normalizing what's normal. 

They raise the content bar and I hope you'll be inspired.