RI Business Forum

Celebrating Pride Month in the Small Business Community

August 17, 2022

little box with rainbow ribbons

This past June of 2022 marked the 51st celebration of PRIDE Month, a month dedicated to the celebration of the world’s LGBTQIA+ communities. The historical purpose of this month is to pay homage to the Stonewall riots which took place in June of 1969 in New York City, a movement which inspired today’s gay rights movement. Each June, various events occur around the world as a way of recognizing the impact that the LGBTQIA+ community has had on history locally, nationally, and internationally. While PRIDE presents opportunities to raise awareness and show support for current issues faced by queer communities worldwide, it is also a jubilant celebration of accomplishments, redefining identity, and embracing individuality.

As the world shifts and changes, PRIDE too, reflects what is relevant throughout the global community. Timely events impacting the LGBTQIA+ and others resonate through expressive parades, public speaking, festivals, performances, and participating LGBTQ+ and allied vendors and advocacy groups. In June, PRIDE looked a bit different due to the pandemic. Many in-person events and appearances had resort to a virtual platform, but support for the movement has not wavered despite these changes. So, how does this relate to the small business community?

Why is PRIDE month important to the small business community?

There are countless reasons PRIDE Month is important to the small business community, Rhode Island, and the business/marketing sphere as a whole. The voices of small business owners play a key role in their business’ identity as well as the customers they attract. Here are three of the many reasons PRIDE month is important to the small business community:

1. How people spend their money speaks to their values and beliefs. Those who take the time to look for businesses that align with their values can be empowering and liberating, especially small businesses who could use their financial support. Small businesses who show support to LGBTQ IA+ communities go a long way in forming strong, lasting personal relationships with their customers.

2. Shopping local and supporting small businesses which are LGBTQIA+ friendly keeps the money within the local community and strengthens community ties.

When you shop local from small LGBTQIA+-owned businesses, your support serves as a direct contribution toward building equity and sustainability of the LGBTQIA+ marketplace. Not only are you keeping the money in your community, but you are also strengthening the LGBTQIA+ voices within your community, while promoting a more meaningful small business experience, and helping their community thrive.

3. Supporting queer communities and queer run businesses strengthens workplace culture and community.

By showing your support for small businesses and queer run small businesses, you are becoming an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community. A study done by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) found that 46% of LGBTQIA+ employees say they are closeted at work. By supporting small businesses, you are consciously standing behind LGBTQIA+ owners and employees no matter how they identify, and contributing to a more positive, respectful workplace culture within your community.