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Why do we still need Pride Month?

Craig Spalding /

6 min read

A reflection on Pride Month discourse and the state of affairs for LGBTQ+ and B Corporation communities, by Craig Spalding (Vermilion, B Proud Network, and B Local CO).

Photo Credit: Sienna Satterwhite; Denver, CO Pride Parade, 2024

Every year, June takes on a new form of Pride Month celebration as times, attitudes, political landscapes, and LGBTQ+ people themselves change. This year, for many, it served as a reminder that securing a full, safe, and welcoming place for queer people is far from over. As we enter peak turbulence of an election year in the US, “culture wars,” trans peoples’ very existence, and LGBTQ+ livelihood increasingly become political talking points, and misinformation spreads to excite and scare voters. 

Seemingly more so than in other years, Pride Month discourse is also peaking—from kink at Pride, to bi women bringing their straight boyfriends, to Jon Stewart’s take on corporate morality… the discourse is discoursing. 

Chronically-online discussions aside, I’m reminded that the purpose of Pride Month is also an ever-changing concept. A well-meaning friend recently asked me why we still need Pride Month. His intention was likely from a “we’ve come so far” point of view. Still, it got me thinking about how folks perceive Pride across various spectrums—political, ideological, or otherwise. Living in Denver, CO, I’m just as likely to overhear someone ask when straight pride is (oh, boy) as I am to hear someone celebrate the movement’s progress and wonder what else there is to do. 

My answer to both? Visibility (still) matters. And Pride Month creates a collective moment and space for LGBTQ+ folks to be our full selves, reassuring one another that our individual, human experiences are seen and valued. The discourse and social climate may change from June to June, but that collective purpose remains unchanged. 

At the end of the day, our community’s progress is still fairly new and in danger of being reversed. I’ve only been able to get married for about ten years, which is around 1/3rd of my life. For a significant part of my life, I was told marriage literally wasn’t for me. And even now, today’s Supreme Court has shown they aren’t opposed to rolling back individual rights and overturning longstanding legal decisions. 

That is all to say, our fight for LGBTQ+ equality is never over; it just changes. 

So… why do we still need Pride Month?

To remember that Pride Month was, and is, a justice movement.

Many folks lament that pride parades and events have lost sight of the riotous beginnings of the LGBTQ+ movement, and rightfully so. More and more companies pink- or rainbow-wash when it serves their bottom line, benefiting from the appearance of supporting the LGBTQ+ community without taking meaningful action to actually support LGBTQ+ rights and causes. (Looking at you, Target)

On another side of the same coin, queer communities often feel well-intentioned allies have co-opted Pride Month. Pride parades in major cities are more likely to feel like a weekend summer event for straight families to take the kiddos to than a progressive movement for justice, systemic change, or queer liberation. 

Even when participating in allyship, dominant social groups risk co-opting progress and erasing history. But these examples are nuanced—the LGBTQ+ community needs corporate support and cis/straight allyship to continue and broaden the momentum of the original “riot” that pride was. 

To better know and honor our neighbors and friends.

An estimated 14 to 20 million people in the United States are LGBTQ+. That’s between 5.5 and 8% of the adult population, and even still, these might be underestimates as some individuals may not disclose their identity in surveys for various reasons. (Human Rights Campaign, Williams Institute, Gallup)

Greater visibility and acceptance of queer identities have led to more folks feeling safe and supported to come out. The simple act of being aware of, in support of, and willing to honor Pride Month and queer communities carries more impact than you might realize. 

To symbolically respond to overtly prejudiced attacks.

In my own backyard, the Colorado Republican Party sent out an official call to burn all Pride flags while using the anti-gay f-slur directly in the messaging, seemingly to confirm and own their extremist fringes as core to the party’s values. (9 News

Politically-fueled and endorsed attacks like this aren’t new and aren’t going away. The ACLU is tracking over 100 bills attacking transgender people in state legislatures—so, while a call to burn Pride flags might seem dramatic but innocuous, it plants a seed that grows into more institutional and direct attacks on queer communities, telling extremists that their dangerous and violent views are not only supported but endorsed.

To keep the conversation going, especially in our online world. 

A simple and effective way to remember why we still need Pride Month exists in the comment section of any official social media account. Look at the Instagram comments on Pride posts from The National Park Service, Disney, or [insert your favorite brand or organization]. The odds are pretty high that there will be calls to unfollow, cries that the group has “gone woke,” and queer people expressing gratitude, on all equal ground. 

Social media might seem like an increasingly superficial space for meaningful discourse, but it carries more weight than we might think. Being a queer person scrolling through social media during June can feel both validating and terrifying, serving as a reminder that many people—our neighbors even—don’t condone our very existence. 

What’s the state of affairs for LGBTQ+ folks in the US?

One of the most important reasons we (still) need Pride Month rests in the reality of what it means to be queer in America. It’s not all rainbows and roses, and Pride Month offers a short, necessary respite from the challenges and dangers we face on a daily basis.

Putting aside how Pride Month has changed and what it means for queer communities, the world in which LGBTQ+ people live is concerning, dangerous, and a constant weight on our collective community’s back. 

  • As of June 2024, The ACLU is tracking over 527 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in the US. (ACLU)
  • Violence against LGBTQ+ people is on the rise. (FBI)
  • Drag performers have become a culture war scapegoat and false target for extremist, right-wing propaganda.
  • LGBTQ+ people still face discrimination across many systems, including employment, housing, and healthcare. (Williams Institute)(One Colorado)
  • 41% of LGBTQ adults aged 45 and older worry about having to hide their LGBTQ identity to access housing for older adults (AARP)
  • States restrict access to education, sports, and LGBTQ+ history, particularly in the South, despite the South continuing to have the highest percentage of queer people. (USA Today)
  • Just last year, the Human Rights Campaign declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ Americans for the first time. (HRC)
  • And trans and trans people of color are increasingly the focus of the above. A trans person is four times more likely than a cisgender person to be a victim of violent crime. (Williams Institute)

What is the B Proud network, and how does it serve the B Corp community?

I’m grateful and fortunate to take action and work alongside my fellow network leaders and B Corporation employees by making my (small) contribution to B Lab’s B Proud network. 

B Proud provides space for community care, learning opportunities, and advocacy for LGBTQ+ folks and allies within the B Corp Community. We envision a B Corp movement that actively values and integrates LGBTQ+ perspectives, creating spaces that catalyze connection, advocacy, and growth.

We facilitate quarterly network gatherings with esteemed speakers, creating space to connect the B Corporations around a shared vision for our queer community. Follow along and join our next quarterly gathering!

How can I take action each Pride Month (and beyond)?

As we look back on Pride Month 2024, we can also plan ahead and take action now, for June or otherwise. Whether you work for or represent a B Corporation or not, whether you’re LGBTQ+ or not, there are endless ways to deepen your support and take action.

  • Localize your efforts and tune into anti-LGBTQ legislation in your area—the Equality Federation is a great place to start
  • Create a workplace culture of belonging—from mental health resources to purposeful representation and policies within your company
  • Support and uplift local thought leaders and LGBTQ+-owned companies—LGBTQ chambers of commerce and B Lab’s directory can help
  • If you’re in the United States, vote like the future of the Supreme Court depends on it

And perhaps most importantly, make your support for the LGBTQ+ community visible year-round—queer people exist outside of June, and our victories and challenges do as well.

About Craig Spalding []

Programs Lead at B Proud [

Board Member at B Local CO [

Craig Spalding has worked in marketing for impact-driven organizations and certified B Corporations since 2011. He is the Programs Lead for B Proud, a network within B Lab that advances LGBTQ+ rights through policy, advocacy, and business practices that help B Corporations support employees and stakeholders. Craig also serves on the board for B Local CO to help the local non-profit chapter foster collaboration and growth for Colorado’s 170+ certified B Corporations. Craig is the Business Development & Marketing Director at Vermilion, a women- and LGBTQ-owned, certified B Corp and full-service creative and marketing agency. Vermilion works with groups that advance equality and community impact, health and well-being, outdoor and environmental progress, and natural and organic CPG brands. When he’s not working on all the above, you can find him exploring Denver, Colorado, with his partner Ben and mutts Margot and Ruger.

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