Earlier this month, Elon Musk reportedly mocked Twitter and other tech giants for paying (in his opinion) lip-service to LGBTQ+ rights. What prompted his action? The posting of rainbow logos on social media during Pride Month. Musk referenced how many brands change their logos, questioning whether this activity represented companies merely ‘virtue signalling’.
A similar sentiment was echoed by Rebecca Brooker in Design Week (June 2020). Rebecca’s co-founder of Queer Design Club, an online community for LGBTQ+ designers. In the article, she was quoted as saying: “I think there’s something to be said for brands that have stayed silent for the whole year and then changed their logo to a rainbow on 1 June. We want to see real changes in the way things are approached. Brands that follow up their words with measurable actions can have significant impact for those in the community.”
Time for reflection
As one of the companies who changed their logo on social media, are we guilty of merely paying lip-service to Pride? And are we one of the brands merely ‘virtue signalling’?
No, we’re not.
The point of Pride month, like any other awareness calendar dates such as International Women’s Day, Mental Health Awareness Week, Black History Month etc. is to raise awareness, educate, and to bring the issues and topics to the forefront. And no, it shouldn’t just be for the day, week, or month, but all year round. Ideally, we’ll get to the point where we don’t need to have ANY awareness days/weeks/months at all because the issues, prejudices and challenges have been dealt with – once and for all, just as they should be.
But unfortunately, we’re not there – yet.
In our view, the least we can do (for now) is to stand shoulder-to-shoulder and show our support outwardly, in a simple way. But it shouldn’t, and doesn’t, stop there.
Businesses (and societies) are at very different stages of the ‘curve’ when it comes to embracing the LGBTQ+ agenda, or any other equality and diversity issues. Some businesses are loud and proud with how they champion their point of view. For others, Pride hasn’t even hit the radar yet. Whilst some are more understated and quietly build a culture that’s understanding, inclusive and accepting of all people – irrespective of their belief, preference, or background.
We see ourselves as very much the latter.
It’s a question of values
Forepoint’s very much a reflection of our people, and our people are very much a reflection of Forepoint – a kind of two-way cultural mirror if you will. And, as a small business we can build a team that truly reflects our culture and build upon it. We’ve done a lot of work as a team recently on our brand, and re-embedding our values:
- Authentic – be yourself.
- Collaboration – work together successfully.
- Empathy – understand others’ point of view.
- Ambition – be the best version of yourself.
- Joy – love life and work.
Every one of those values are fundamental to us and, we believe, to Pride and the LGBTQ+ community too.
But having values is one thing, making them part of everyone’s DNA is quite another. Because values only have true value if they mean something, and they live and breathe.
We know that life, work, friendship, being who you are, and accepting others isn’t always ‘plain sailing’. It’s about being brave, having the courage to step out and step up. It’s about continually developing, hard work, and enjoyment. It’s about resilience, disappointment and beating the odds – and that’s how we encourage everyone at Forepoint to be.
That’s how we believe you make real change – from the inside out. And that’s what we’ve done, are doing, and will continue to do.
Stand up and make a difference
We’re living in an era of huge cultural change. That’s why we’re more committed than ever to stand up for those things that’ll make our world better. It’s about making a difference that’s good for everyone. It’s about ensuring that EVERYONE feels a true sense of belonging. It’s about fostering a culture that accepts anyone and everyone for exactly who they are.
We don’t tolerate prejudice of any kind. We call it out if we see or hear it. We embrace good people and we make them welcome.
Although the ‘rainbow flag’ will be lowered at the end of June, our culture and values will still fly high. Whatever the colour of your skin, your background, your sexual preferences, or your gender – Forepoint welcomes you for who you are and the talent you bring.