For 2SLGBTQ+ people, Pride Month celebrations can be a welcome respite from heady global events. As governments continue to threaten 2SLGBTQ+ visibility and violence against many of the community is a daily reality, no amount of parades or corporate Instagram posts “celebrating” 2SLGBTQ+ people can erase centuries of discrimination and pain.
Corporations often commodify the struggles faced by the 2SLGBTQ+ community, turning Pride into sponsored content, queer people into tokens, and the joy experienced during Pride Month into a corporate slogan. Destination marketers, it’s (past) time to do better.
To take things a step further, here are four ways your DMO can support the community with intentionality.
1. Work with 2SLGBTQ+ creatives year-round
First, follow and promote 2SLGBTQ+ creators on social media. We put together a list of some of the most influential creatives in travel and tourism you can follow and support year-round.
If you’re going to post, share, or create content with people for your social channels, here are a few tips:
When working with 2SLGBTQ+ influencers or micro-influencers, provide a clear budget early in your negotiations. Working for exposure isn’t sustainable for any creative
Fact check and source your information, especially if you’re partnering with other organizations. Are your partners 2SLGBTQ+-friendly? Has there been any history of negligence or any reports of discriminatory practices?
Partner with content creators throughout the year, not just during Pride Month. This should be obvious by now, but inclusive and diverse marketing needs to be an always-on effort by DMOs
2. Opt for diverse visuals in your marketing
Up until a few decades ago, who and what you saw in the media was pretty homogenous for a variety of reasons — systemic racism, discrimination against marginalized communities, etc. Only recently has truly diverse imagery become a core tenant of good marketing.
For a while, the corporate approach to representation stalled at a checkbox of “Okay, we have visuals of this group AND these types of people. We’re done now!” In actuality, corporations need to create an advertising ecosystem where all genders, sexualities, racial groups, and expressions of self are welcome.
Try these tips for more diverse imagery:
Work with 2SLGBTQ+influencers and content creators (and credit their work) when sourcing their images
Leverage CrowdRiff and Localhood to surface user-generated content from local partners and travelers, backed by our easily-searchable repository of assets
3. Highlight 2SLGBTQ+ businesses in your area
You probably don’t just support shopping small one day a year on Small Biz Saturday. So why would you only support the 2SLGBTQ+ community during Pride Month?
One way to continually amplify the voices of queer creators is by regularly highlighting the 2SLGBTQ+ owned businesses in your area and beyond. Here are a few ways to start doing that all year:
Create a series of articles interviewing influential 2SLGBTQ+ people in your community. They could be shop owners, creatives, artisans, or social media darlings. Sit down with them, get to know them, and share their stories with your audience.
Tell a variety of stories from different perspectives. There is no singular queer experience; every single one is unique!
Make an Instagram highlight using Localhood, which pulls imagery from your partners’ social media, to provide a helpful guide to 2SLGBTQ+ businesses on your Instagram. (Tag and link to those businesses while you’re at it!)
Create a hashtag for 2SLGBTQ+ owned businesses, so partners can tag all their content under one united campaign
Use CrowdRiff’s auto-populating Galleries and Stories to create a dedicated web or landing page experience that celebrates your destination’s favorite 2SLGBTQ+ businesses
4. Support 2SLGBTQ+ nonprofits and organizations
Actual community support is a critical piece of allyship — and one often missed by companies who are too busy rainbow-washing their products and sponsoring parades in the name of “solidarity.”
Active monetary donations to organizations and nonprofits is essential to the wellbeing of 2SLGBTQ+ youth and adults. Here are a few national orgs to support:
For small DMOs with tighter budgets, another great way to provide allyship to the community is through company-wide volunteer days and clothing drives. You can partner with organizations to provide volunteer PTO, where employees can spend a day volunteering with an approved charity list in your local area.
Remember — Pride Month is a political statement centered around 2SLGBTQ+ liberation, not an excuse to create rainbow merch for your destination. With intention and care, your DMO can become an ally to the 2SLGBTQ+ community 365 days a year.