Exploring Pride Month’s Impact: Celebrating Diversity, Striving for Equality
19th July 2023
Are we striking the right balance between celebration and education? Let’s embark on a journey to explore Pride Month’s true essence and the challenges it faces in effecting positive societal change.
Pride Month is an annual celebration that takes place in the month of June to honour the LGBTQ+ community. It is a time when people come together to celebrate diversity, promote equality, and raise awareness about the issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community. With London Pride taking place on the 1st July, closing Pride month in the UK with vibrant parades, concerts, art exhibitions, film screenings, and cultural activities, we sought to find out the impact of Pride month on the general population in awareness, knowledge, and engagement with the LGTBQ+ communities.
We asked a nationally representative sample of UK adults via our omnibus about their awareness and understanding of Pride month. Two thirds say that are aware of Pride month, which builds on the idea that Pride is becoming mainstream with broader public appeal (i.e. Pride rather than Gay Pride), demonstrated by high awareness levels among Britons, especially women (71%) and the young (80% in 18-24 year olds).
However, the actual impact of Pride is somewhat more uncertain. This is reflected by only a quarter of the public having increased knowledge of LGBTQ+ community as a consequence of Pride and low engagement about the LGBTQ+ community (fewer than a quarter are interested in learning more). Only among the under 35s is Pride making a positive impression (two in five said they would like to learn more about the LGTBQ+ community).
As such, is the core message of Pride about celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender social and self-acceptance, achievements, legal rights, and pride being overshadowed by the Pride celebrations? Is the ubiquitous LGBTQ+ themed consumer marketing in Pride month, typified by the preponderance of rainbow flags when we shop, doing enough to educate society about the community’s goal of equality? Marketeers will need to consider how to target their messaging of inclusion to educate consumers in a meaningful way.
This is all the more important when you consider that Pride – among other initiatives – has some way to go to positively change societal attitudes to the LGBTQ+ community. Although separate research we recently conducted for BBC Three1 shows four out of five gay men believe that the UK has become more accepting towards them over the past 10 years and most agree that the UK is becoming a safer place to be a gay man, over half of gay men said that they have experienced discrimination in public because they are gay.
The findings may reinforce the sense that some brands are over-commercialising Pride, for example, using the rainbow flag in a perceived tokenistic way during June. A key message for brands therefore will how to balance the commercial aspects of Pride with the core aim of Pride to promote inclusivity, acceptance, and equal rights for all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
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