It’s that time of year, when it seems like nearly every corporation in America decks itself out in more rainbows than a summer sky after a thunderstorm. But these elaborate displays of virtue signaling — limited, of course, to countries where LGBT people are already largely accepted and not countries like Iran where they are harmed — aren’t just about celebrating inclusion.
Behind the confetti-sprinkled ads with sayings so cliché (a) they hardly mean anything and (b) no one really disagrees with them, hundreds of corporations are throwing their support behind the deceptively named “Equality Act” — and its threats to religious liberties and free speech.
The marketing branches of these corporations pretend the Equality Act would simply recognize that people in the LGBT community have the same human rights anyone else does. But in actuality, the Equality Act would strip religious liberties, freedom of speech, parental rights, and the safety and privacy of women and girls.
The bill explicitly exempts itself from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which Congress passed to secure religious exemptions on issues like this one. It would open women’s prisons to men, even men with no surgical changes, and force women’s sports programs and bathrooms to welcome biological males.
Under the Equality Act, employers couldn’t prevent biological men identifying as women from taking jobs like “law enforcement officials involved in strip searches or supervisors of locker rooms, or handling intimate care in hospitals or long-term care facility,” as Margot Cleveland noted for The Federalist. It could also penalize parents who don’t wholeheartedly endorse their children’s desires to identify as the opposite sex; it would ban “conversion therapy,” which the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) broadly defines as “any attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”
With those extreme provisions in mind, here’s a roundup of some of the major corporations doing backflips to support the Equality Act.
Target launched a collection of more than 150 pride-themed products this year, including string lights, scented candles, and this $50 garishly striped rainbow shorts suit, which was quickly mocked on Twitter. Behind its colorful displays, Target has professed support for the Equality Act since 2015.
Still thinking about Target's pride suit pic.twitter.com/SuRUcj0xgT
— Kathryn Watson (@kathrynw5) June 1, 2021
“We’re Stronger Together,” IBM declares with an overused and vague cliché. President and CEO Ginni Rometty sent a letter to Congress in 2019 “unequivocally voicing support for the Equality Act and urging lawmakers to pass it without delay.”
Together, we’re stronger. 🏳️🌈
— IBM (@IBM) June 1, 2021
The American branch of the vehicle company explicitly posted its support for the Equality Act on June 1, also sharing a post from the Human Rights Campaign, one of the chief activist groups pushing the legislation. To them, like all the rest of these corporate entities, support for LGBT Americans is synonymous with ending constitutional protections for free speech and living in accord with your conscience.
— Honda In America (@HondaInAmerica) June 1, 2021
4. Capital One
For Pride Month, Capital One posted a video complete with upbeat music, stock video clips of smiling people, and the buzzwords “equality” “love” and “family.” The banking company also pledged “strong support” for the Equality Act, with a press release assuring “Capital One is proud to be advocating for its passage.”
5. Gap, Inc.
Equality is “always in style,” said Gap in its 2016 announcement of support for the Equality Act. This year, the retailer — which is also connected to Banana Republic and Old Navy — announced a Pride clothing collection and a $50,000 donation to GLAAD.
Gap releases exclusive t-shirt collection for Pride 2021 designed by LGBT+ artists https://t.co/jplYarYApc
— PinkNews (@PinkNews) June 2, 2021
Facebook posted a video in honor of Pride Month celebrating Facebook groups of “cottagecore farmposting,” “non-binary gamers,” “queer nurses,” “gay men meditating,” “trans musicians,” “LGBTQ+ crochet/knitting/crafters,” “LGBTQ pets,” and “black lesbian bikers.” Facebook, Inc. touts its “open and vocal” support for the Equality Act on its U.S. Public Policy page.
Facebook Group members are celebrating Pride in ways that are most authentic to them — coming together over things like music, sewing & gaming. However you pride, pride on and on and on. #Pride #MoreTogether pic.twitter.com/7HlxzlYObG
— Facebook App (@facebookapp) June 1, 2021
The global consulting firm posted a Pride message on its Twitter account, promising to share stories of LGBT employees and showing a lesbian couple holding and smiling at a baby. Deloitte, LLP is also part of the Business Coalition for the Equality Act listed on the HRC website.
Happy #Pride! At Deloitte, we want everyone to feel that they can be themselves and thrive at work. Throughout June, we'll highlight the experiences of the Deloitte #LGBT+ community & amplify their voices by telling their stories #Pride2021 https://t.co/ngxtkD6wde pic.twitter.com/nHfMJ3CLO7
— Deloitte (@Deloitte) June 1, 2021
8. American Airlines
American Airlines decked its Twitter profile and cover photos in rainbow stripes, along with a separate Twitter post for Pride Month. It’s also advertising a list of 23 onboard “movies to celebrate Pride,” while touting its “active advocacy” for the Equality Act.
As #PrideMonth kicks off today, we celebrate the power of love and all the things that make us unique and bring us together. Today and every day, the #AATeam is proud to support our LGBTQ community. What you are most prideful of this month? 📸: @diecastryan pic.twitter.com/NzWZA0Q42C
— americanair (@AmericanAir) June 1, 2021
The Walt Disney Co., whose core products are geared toward children, is part of the HRC’s Business Coalition in favor of the Equality Act. It also offers a Pride collection for sale, including a baby onesie and rainbow stuffed Mickey and Minnie toys.
— Disney (@Disney) June 1, 2021
Disney Plus, the entertainment giant’s online streaming site, is also spotlighting TV shows and films that encourage children to question their sexuality.
We believe in the power of inclusive storytelling that brings us together and inspires us to live authentically, and Disney+ is committed to amplifying LGBTQ+ and BIPOC voices. We are proud to be a home for diverse creators, talent, and content. (1/3) #DisneyPlusPride 🌈 pic.twitter.com/asnr0JVbnb
— Disney+ (@disneyplus) June 1, 2021
Another member of the Business Coalition for the Equality Act, the online mood board company suggests curated collections with titles like “The future of fashion is Queer,” “Your Pride month reading essentials,” and “How to be an ally in the LGBTQ+ community.”
In addition to a special Twitter post, a “Google Doodle” honoring LGBT rights activist Frank Kameny, and an “Easter Egg” of confetti and assorted striped flags, Google has also thrown its support behind the Equality Act.
COVID-19 amplified the marginalization LGBTQ+ communities face. In response, @Googleorg is contributing $3M in cash and Ad Grants to @OutRightIntl, including support of their COVID-19 Global LGBTIQ Emergency Fund.
— Google (@Google) June 2, 2021
— MobileSyrup (@MobileSyrup) June 2, 2021
Apple, Inc. endorses the Equality Act, and Apple’s CEO Tim Cook shared a detailed message of support for the act on Twitter earlier this year. This month, the tech company is offering rainbow bands on its Apple Watches.
The Equality Act reflects in law the fact that every person deserves dignity & respect, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity—at work, at home and in the public square. We strongly support its passage, and we encourage Congress to come together and get it done.
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) February 23, 2021
Happy Pride! 🌈🙌
— Apple Support (@AppleSupport) June 1, 2021