Kearney Research: LGBTQ+ Community Marches on Despite COVID-19 Halt to Pride Month Parades


CommPRO Editorial Staff

You can cancel a parade, but you can’t keep a powerful community from marching forward, new research from global strategy and management consulting firm Kearney, finds. Unstoppable for 50 years: LGBTQ+ Pride marches forward, a report released today, notes that this year’s Pride Month, the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, comes during an intersection of two major events – that of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that of a pattern of violence against black people, the latter of which recently came to a head over a succession of murders by police officers, resulting in protests across the nation.

This year, the LGBTQ+ community cannot celebrate their Pride in the streets due to COVID-19, but they are coming out to support Black Lives Matter, in recognition of the fact that, in the words of Micah Bazant: “No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.” But how are they celebrating Pride this year? What does a community do when its most visible public expression is suddenly unavailable? Kearney set out to explore this question and discovered that, in the case of the LGBTQ+ community, the answer is to keep moving forward, loud, proud, and unapologetic – even in the face of unexpected and unprecedented circumstances.

“Even with COVID-19, nearly 9 out of 10 LGBTQ+ individuals intend on celebrating Pride this year – underlining the solidarity of the community and commitment to celebrate its history and diverse identity,” said Corey Chafin, Principal in Kearney’s Consumer practice and lead author of the report. “Though celebrations will look different than in years past, 83% of our LGBTQ+ panel told us they will be connecting with other members of the community; 65% will be displaying pride-themed merchandise, and half will participate in LGBTQ+ advocacy.”

One of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic is that the “check-off-the-box,” superficial responses aren’t readily available – and to many in the community, those easy outs never rang true in the first place: they have advanced farther and faster than comparable human and civil rights organizations in large part by never confusing triumphing in a few battles with winning true, unfiltered equality. The three-faceted approach – connecting, displaying, and advocating – offers a path for corporate America to engage with the LGBTQ+ community on a deeper and more tangible level. How should companies respond? Chafin notes, “Writing a sponsorship check for a local parade isn’t an option this year. Companies should focus on genuine, authentic efforts in support of LGBTQ+ advocacy.”

Asked, “What is the top way you would most like to see companies taking action in “sponsoring” Pride Month this year?”

  • 25% of our LGTBQ+ panelists favored donating to LGBTQ+ causes
  • 15% want businesses to stand up a COVID-19 a support fund for LGBTQ+ individuals”
  • 14% suggested sponsoring virtual Pride events
  • And 11% want to see LGBTQ+ individuals celebrated in corporate advertising.

“The bottom line is that companies need to think beyond the bottom line,” Chafin said. “Authentic responses require actual actions inside and outside the corporate headquarters – good recruitment, retention, and promotion of LGBTQ+ employees, not only rainbow flags in the break room during June; engaging with the community 12 months a year, and most importantly recognizing members of the LGTBQ+ community as unique individuals who, combined, have enormous economic and social power.”

For a full copy of the report, click here.