Why there was no Peak Pride logo this yearBy Liam McCaffrey on June 30, 2023 - 5 Minute Read
Pride has always been a combination of gesture and action. As LGBT+ people have become more accepted, businesses have started showing their support during Pride month. But in recent years, LGBT+ people have started to question corporate support. They’re asking what businesses are really doing, beyond changing logos and waving Pride flags. This year, we asked ourselves the same question…
Since the Stonewall riots in 1969, Pride has been a key rallying point for LGBT+ people and their allies where they can demonstrate resistance to anti-LGBT+ policies, practices and sentiment.
Since 1969, Pride has hosted protests that have won important rights for LGBT+ people, like gender recognition, marriage equality and protections in the workplace. But progress has been uneven. Same-sex relationships are still criminalized in at least 62 countries, trans people may face criminal punishment under law in 37 countries, meanwhile same-sex marriages are only recognized in 34 countries.
Peak operates out of India, the UK and the United States. And, while significant progress has been made in these regions, there are still significant barriers for LGBT+ people. For instance, in India same-sex marriage is still not recognized on a federal level. In the UK, there has been an explosion of political debate on transgender rights and, in the US, an estimated 82 anti LGBT+ rights bills have been passed in 2023 alone.
It’s clear that Pride is just as important today as it was in 1969. But with Pride being so important, we need to think carefully about our involvement. Each of us has to ask ourselves what Pride is, what it means to us, and how we should observe it.
What Pride means to Peak
Pride has always been a combination of gesture and action. We see gestures like Pride flags waving outside establishments, people wearing Pride rainbow colors and social media posts, offering messages of solidarity to LGBT+ people. People take action too, hosting events focused on LGBT+ issues, marching in the Pride parade and raising awareness and funds for LGBT+ charities.
In past years, we’ve used Pride as an opportunity to celebrate our LGBT+ colleagues and to educate non-LGBT+ colleagues on the LGBT+ experience. This year, we’ve taken a step back to understand how we’re doing as an employer of LGBT+ people and what we can do to make a difference going forward.
One thing we’ve done in previous years is change our social media logo, from our usual design to one boasting the LGBT+ pride flag colors. Of course, we’ve not been the only one. In recent years, many companies have adopted the Pride logo as a form of gesture, a way to indicate their allyship.
We should all aspire to be an ally to LGBT+ people and it’s heartening to see so many businesses demonstrating this ambition by flying the Pride colors every year. This gesture started out as a meaningful act of solidarity at a time when businesses risked losing customers by doing so.
But the meaning of this gesture has changed over the years. As societies have become more welcoming to LGBT+ people, the gesture of displaying a Pride flag has become less risky for businesses in many regions where it’s become something of a no-brainer.
Why wouldn’t you? Adopting a Pride flag can show you’re progressive, it can show your business is a great place for LGBT+ people to work and it can show you’re championing LGBT+ rights. For many businesses, the LGBT+ logo will be a fair representation of their rightful role as an LGBT+ ally. But, ultimately, anyone can change their logo to Pride flag colors.
LGBT+ have expressed concern that by temporarily changing their logos to Pride colors or designs, businesses can reap the benefits of allyship, even if they don’t take meaningful action for LGBT+ people. At Peak, we believe the term “ally” is not a label a business can give themselves.
We believe the term “ally” is earned. It’s an evaluation made by the LGBT+ community, based on a business consistently acting like an ally. It comes as a consequence of action, not before it. That’s not to say Peak hasn’t taken action as allies. For instance, we removed gendered language from our communications, we added pronouns to our internal communication tools, we equalized parental and adoption leave, we run annual internal Pride celebrations, and we run educational events on LGBT+ topics.
We also run an annual diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) survey that helps us understand the experiences of LGBT+ people at Peak. We act on those results, with action plans led by our People team and the employee-led group, Peak Equals.
We’ve done a lot. We’re doing a lot. But we’re not satisfied. We want to set the highest standards for what it means to be an ally. That’s why this year, we’re doing things differently.
Why there’s no Peak Pride logo this year
This year, we haven’t shared a Peak Pride logo. To put it simply, we’re not ready. We’re proud of what we’ve achieved so far, but we believe there’s more to do.
Yes, by displaying the Peak Pride logo, we’d perform a positive gesture of allyship. But we’d also benefit from the positive perceptions that come with allyship. We believe it’s our responsibility to elevate the meaning of allyship for ourselves and the wider business community.
This year, we want to let our actions speak for themselves. So we’ve used this Pride as an opportunity to reflect on the meaningful actions we can take, like creating “transitioning at work” and “coming out at work” policies so LGBT+ Peakers across the world can feel they’re safe to truly be themselves.
These are just a couple of policies we’re looking at. We’re also working with Inclusive Employers on our broader inclusion strategy, as well as working with DEI experts in tech.
We’re with you. This time next year, we hope we can look back on this moment with Pride. Secure in knowing our actions have spoken louder than any words, or logo, could.