At the end of Pride Month – it’s time to rinse off some of that rainbow-wash.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay 

Hey, corporations! Do you want to be considered “people?”

(theskimm) “Nine years after the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, gay rights activist Gilbert Baker created and paraded the first rainbow flag. Fast forward to June 2021: corporations (think: Walmart, CVS, AT&T) started adding rainbow colors to their logos on social media. The move is an attempt to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month. But LGBTQ+ activists say this show of solidarity by some companies is just a front since their corporate policies show a different side to their supposed activism. And are accusing them of rainbow-washing.

Citizens United turned soulless corporations into “people” who can support things, like Pride Month and Juneteenth. Well, it’s time to remind a bunch of CEO’s that there are social rules to being “real people” – like defending and protecting their friends. Every kid knows that Pinocchio only became a “real” boy after he risked everything to save his father. Need a more grownup example? How about this – if you say you’re a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, don’t give political donations to homophobes. So easy!

(Note: If you and your family/friend circle haven’t started calling your senators on passing the Equality Act, go here.)

CVS Health

Contact information:

Sample email:
Friends don’t sell out friends, Ms. Lynch. Despite your publicity campaign celebrating PRIDE month, your 100% rating on the HRC’s 2020 Corporate Equality Index, and your signature on @HRC’s Business Statement Opposing Anti-LGBTQ State Legislation, you donated to politicians committed to undermining LGBTQ rights.

  • According to Popular Information, “Since 2019, CVS Health has also donated $259,000 to 54 members of Congress who received a zero ratings in HRC’s Congressional scorecard for the 116th Congress.”
  • You donated to cosponsors of TX bill SB1646, a vicious piece of legislation that would “change the state’s child abuse law” to make it a crime for parents to allow their children to receive gender-affirming medical care,” and which threatened doctor’s medical licenses.
  • You backed NC Senator Ralph Hise (R), the primary sponsor of S514, which The Advocate called “the most repressive anti-transgender health care bill in the nation” and to cosponsor Senator Joyce Krawiec. 

On your corporate website, you said that CVS Health is “proud of our long-standing commitment to eliminating discrimination in health care and health care coverage, including our commitment to support the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.” However, you contributed to legislators who are further traumatizing trans youth, a group already threatened by frighteningly high suicide rates. You know what your LGBTQ customers would REALLY love? The Equality Act passed. Trans kids being able to access the medical care they want without having to move to another state. To continue to participate in the school sports they love. To not be used as cover by corporations who pretend to be allies. Rainbow-washing like yours is becoming easier to spot, thanks to donation disclosure sites and dedicated researchers. The politicians you are supporting are creating legislative hate crimes and you are helping them. It’s time you figured out what you REALLY stand for.

AT&T

Contact information:

Sample email:
Friends don’t sell out friends, Mr. Stankey. Despite your publicity campaign celebrating PRIDE month, your 100% rating on the HRC’s 2020 Corporate Equality Index, and your signature on @HRC’s Business Statement Opposing Anti-LGBTQ State Legislation, you donated to politicians committed to undermining LGBTQ rights.

  • According to Popular Information, you donated more than $1 million to anti-gay politicians in the last two years, including $63,000 to state lawmakers sponsoring legislation that targets LGBTQ people, including LGBTQ youth.
  • You donated $56,295 to Mitch McConnell’s 2020 campaign, a man who is actively blocking the EQUALITY Act.
  • Over the last two years, you have donated to the sponsors of anti-trans legislation in Arkansas ($12,950), Tennessee ($4,000), North Carolina ($5,000), Texas ($22,500), and Florida ($17,500).

On your corporate twitter feed , you said that “We can #TURNUPTHELOVE for LGBTQ+ youth together. Sign up with AT&T and join us to support the @TrevorProject. Learn more at: http://go.att.com/7a3f34fb ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜” Not unless you’re confusing “LOVE” with “further traumatizing a group with an already frighteningly high suicide rate.” You know what your LGBTQ customers would REALLY love? The Equality Act passed. Trans kids being able to access the medical care they want without having to move to another state. To continue to participate in the school sports they love. To not be used as cover by corporations who pretend to be allies. Rainbow-washing is becoming easier to spot, thanks to donation disclosure sites and dedicated researchers. The politicians you are supporting are creating legislative hate crimes and you are helping them. It’s time you figured out what you REALLY stand for.

COMCAST/NBC UNIVERSAL

Contact information:

Sample email:
Friends don’t sell out friends, [Mr. ___]. Despite your publicity campaign celebrating PRIDE month, your 100% rating on the HRC’s 2020 Corporate Equality Index, your creation of “a virtual ‘Pride World’ and a pronoun guide for employees, you still donated to politicians committed to undermining LGBTQ rights. But do you know what employees would REALLY like? The Equality Act passed. Trans kids being able to access the medical care they want without having to move to another state. To continue to participate in the school sports they love. To not be used as cover by corporations who pretend to be allies.

  • According to Popular Information, you donated more than $1.1 million to anti-gay politicians since 2019
  • This includes more than $30,000 to the sponsors of anti-trans legislation introduced this year in Florida and Texas. 
  • Through your NBCUniversal corporate PAC, you gave $2,000 since 2019 to Florida Representative Randy Fine (R), who co-sponsored legislation that would exclude trans girls from athletics in Florida schools.
  • You has also donated $1,095,500 to 149 members of Congress that received a zero in HRC’s latest Congressional Scorecard.

On your corporate website, Yvette Miley, Senior Vice President of MSNBC and NBC News, says “Some people may think the LGBTQ rights journey is done and the struggle is over, but it isn‘t. Our job is to continuously educate.” The struggle isn’t over because of companies like yours, whose financial support allows vicious homophobes to continue to create legislative hate crimes and to block bills for equality. Rainbow-washing is becoming easier to spot, thanks to donation disclosure sites and dedicated researchers. It’s time you figured out what you REALLY stand for.

DELOITTE

Contact information:

Sample email:
Friends don’t sell out friends, Mr. Renjen. Despite your publicity campaign celebrating PRIDE month, your 100% rating on the HRC’s 2020 Corporate Equality Index, your letter expressing its support of the United Nations’ Standards of Conduct for Business and your corporate “LGBT+ Inclusion” webpage, you still donated to politicians committed to undermining LGBTQ rights.

  • According to Popular Information, since 2019, you at least $662,000 to 103 federal lawmakers who received zeros from the HRC for failing to uphold and maintain LGBTQ rights
  • You also donated $3,000 to state legislators in Florida, North Carolina, and Texas supporting anti-trans legislation.   

According to your webpage, you believe “the power of ‘allyship’ is a critical element of LGBT+ diversity, whereby our people support the rights and wellbeing of their LGBT+ colleagues. Allyship isn’t just passive support, but part of our everyday actions – visibly and vocally supporting LGBT+ people inside and outside of Deloitte.

Do you know what your employees and clients would really like? You not donating money to the vicious homophobes who create legislative hate crimes against them, that make their world less safe outside your doors. They would also like to see the Equality Act passed. Trans kids being able to access the medical care they want without having to move to another state. To continue to participate in the school sports they love. To not be used as cover by corporations who pretend to be allies. Rainbow-washing is becoming easier to spot, thanks to donation disclosure sites and dedicated researchers. It’s time you figured out what you REALLY stand for.

HOME DEPOT

Contact information:

Sample email:
Friends don’t sell out friends, Mr. Menear. Despite your publicity campaign celebrating PRIDE month, and your 100% rating on the HRC’s 2020 Corporate Equality Index, you still donated to politicians committed to undermining LGBTQ rights.

  • According to Popular Information, since 2019, Since 2019, @HomeDepot has donated $836,500 to anti-LGBTQ members of Congress that received a ZERO rating from @HRC
  • You also donated $2,000 to state legislators supporting anti-trans legislation.   

According to your “Happy #Pride!” tweet, you’re “reflecting and celebrating the LGBTQ community and the impact of our associates, creators, artists and more in design and home improvement.” Do you know what your LGBTQ+ customers would prefer to a performative twitter graphic? Real allyship, which would include not donating money to the vicious homophobes who create legislative hate crimes against them. They would also like to see the Equality Act passed. Trans kids being able to access the medical care they want without having to move to another state. To continue to participate in the school sports they love. To not be used as cover by corporations who pretend to be allies. Rainbow-washing is becoming easier to spot, thanks to donation disclosure sites and dedicated researchers. It’s time you figured out what you REALLY stand for.

UPS

Contact information:

Sample email:
Friends don’t sell out friends, [Ms. Tome, Mr. Cesarone]. Despite your publicity campaign celebrating PRIDE month, and your 100% rating on the HRC’s 2020 Corporate Equality Index, you still donated to politicians committed to undermining LGBTQ rights.

  • According to Popular Information, since 2019, your company has donated $675,410 to anti-LGBTQ members of Congress that received a ZERO rating from @HRC
  • You also donated $10,2500 to state legislators supporting anti-trans legislation.   

I look at your tweet with that great young person from @pride_box and I wonder if they realize they are being used for cover by a corporation who spent more than half a million dollars to support anti-LGBTQ legislators.

You know what your employees and customers would really like? You not donating money to the vicious homophobes who create legislative hate crimes targeting them. They would also like to see the Equality Act passed. Trans kids being able to access the medical care they want without having to move to another state and to continue to participate in the school sports they love. To not be used as cover by corporations who pretend to be allies. Rainbow-washing is becoming easier to spot, thanks to donation disclosure sites and dedicated researchers. It’s time you figured out what you REALLY stand for.

WALMART

Contact information:

Sample email:
Friends don’t sell out friends, [Mr. ___]. Despite your publicity campaign celebrating PRIDE month, and your 100% rating on the HRC’s 2020 Corporate Equality Index, and your website’s “Spark Love and Extinguish Hate” section – chock full of “Pride and Joy” merch, you still donated to politicians committed to undermining LGBTQ rights. You know what your LGBTQ customers would REALLY like? The Equality Act passed. Trans kids being able to access the medical care they want without having to move to another state and to continue to participate in the school sports they love. To not be used as cover by corporations who pretend to be allies.

  • According to Popular Information, since 2019, you donated at least $442,000 to 121 politicians who received a zero rating from HRC.
  • You also donated $43,000 to state legislators in Arkansas, North Carolina, and Texas pushing for anti-trans legislation.
  • The majority of this amount, $30,000, went to 19 state lawmakers in Arkansas who helped pass a bill in April 2021 that outlawed gender-affirming treatment for trans youth, a bill so heartless that it was vetoed by the governor and overridden by those you supported.
  • Arkansas is now the first state in the country to ban medical care for trans youth, further traumatizing a demographic with a frighteningly high suicide rate.

On your corporate website, Donna Morris, your Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer stated “We will continue to focus on inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community…I look forward to the work that we’ll do together to ensure all feel welcomed, appreciated, and supported to make an impact.” The work Ms. Morris is looking forward to should include fixing the damage that you’ve done. Your financial support allowed vicious homophobes to create legislative hate crimes targeting those you “celebrated” during Pride Month. Rainbow-washing is becoming easier to spot, thanks to donation disclosure sites and dedicated researchers. It’s time you figured out what you REALLY stand for.

WALGREENS

Contact information:

Sample email:
Friends don’t sell out friends, Mr. Standley. Despite your publicity campaign celebrating PRIDE month, your 100% rating on the HRC’s 2020 Corporate Equality Index, and your website’s statement that you support “Love wins. Always. #Pride,” you still donated to politicians committed to undermining LGBTQ rights.

  • According to Popular Information, since 2019, you donated donated $104,000 to anti-LGBTQ members of Congress that received a ZERO rating from @HRC
  • You also donated $1,000 to state legislators who sponsored anti-trans bills this year.  

Your corporate “Diversity & Inclusion” page states that you have “a proud legacy of valuing diversity and fostering inclusion more than 100 years-strong, and we’re still living that commitment. We intend to be recognized as a “Next Practices” company for diversity and inclusion – one whose cultures, people, perspectives and workplaces reflect the current and future customers we serve while delivering superior business performance.

You know what your employees and customers would really like? You not donating money to the vicious homophobes who create legislative hate crimes targeting them. They would also like to see the Equality Act passed. Trans kids being able to access the medical care they want without having to move to another state and to continue to participate in the school sports they love. To not be used as cover by corporations who pretend to be allies. Rainbow-washing is becoming easier to spot, thanks to donation disclosure sites and dedicated researchers. It’s time you figured out what you REALLY stand for.

WELLS FARGO

Contact information:

Sample email:
Friends don’t sell out friends, Mr. Scharf. Despite your publicity campaign celebrating PRIDE month, your 100% rating on the HRC’s 2020 Corporate Equality Index, your signature on @HRC’s Business Statement Opposing Anti-LGBTQ State Legislation, and your website’s statement that you have a “long-standing commitment to the LGBTQ community”, you still donated to politicians committed to undermining LGBTQ rights.

  • According to Popular Information, since 2019, you donated $124,500 to 48 anti-LGBTQ federal lawmakers who received a ZERO rating from @HRC
  • You also donated at least $17,500 to anti-trans state legislators in North Carolina and Texas.  
  • This included a $1000 donation to North Carolina Senator Joyce Krawiec (R), who has repeatedly shared anti-trans articles on social media that promote misinformation about trans people. Krawiec was one of seven senators in North Carolina who introduced the draconian bill to ban gender-affirming treatment for anyone younger than 21.

Your corporate twitter feed stated “#Pride is a time of celebration, reflection, visibility, and affirmation for the LGBTQ community. As we reflect on this year’s theme, ‘stronger together,’ our own Tali Bray shares her experiences being part of a community and choosing to be visible as an individual.” You know what Tali and your LGBTQ customers would REALLY like? You not donating money to the vicious homophobes who create legislative hate crimes against them. They would also like to see the Equality Act passed. Trans kids being able to access the medical care they want without having to move to another state. To continue to participate in the school sports they love. To not be used as cover by corporations who pretend to be allies. Rainbow-washing is becoming easier to spot, thanks to donation disclosure sites and dedicated researchers. It’s time you figured out what you REALLY stand for.

RESOURCES

  • (Popular Info) These 25 rainbow flag-waving corporations donated more than $10 million to anti-gay politicians in the last two years
  • (HRC) Business Statement on Anti-LGBTQ State Legislation
  • (HRC) The Human Rights Campaign has created a Corporate Equality Index, a benchmarking tool on corporate policies, practices and benefits pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees. They also publish a “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality” list.
  • HRC also produces a Congressional scorecard. In its latest scorecard, for the 116th Congress, HRC identified 228 members of Congress who received the worst score, a zero. These members voted to confirm anti-gay members of the Trump cabinet (e.g., Betsy Devos), voted to deny health care to trans troops, and did not sponsor or co-sponsor a single piece of legislation in support of LGBTQ rights
  • State by State HRC scorecards here.

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