Last updated June 25, 2021
Similar to last year, the 2021 Pride Month celebrations looked a little different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the LGBTQ+ community and its supporters have come up with many creative and impactful ways to celebrate and honor the community, as well as to continue making our voices heard. This year, LGBT Tech would like to highlight some of the ways a few of those tech companies are celebrating Pride Month.
On International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia Apple introduced a new Apple Watch Pride Edition Band which features the colors of the Progress Pride Flag to reflect the community’s pride and diversity. Apple is also committed to its continued support for many local, national, and international LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations which include Encircle, Equality North Carolina, Equality Texas, Gender Spectrum, GLSEN, Human Rights Campaign, National Center for Transgender Equality, PFLAG National, SMYAL, The Trevor Project, and ILGA.
AT&T relaunched its annual Turn Up the Love Pride Month campaign, which includes events and editorial initiatives to fundraise for various LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations as well as to promote acceptance and allyship. This year, AT&T also extended its support to The Trevor Project, the largest organization for suicide prevention and crisis intervention for LGBTQ+ youth. AT&T committed $750,000 in support to The Trevor Project over the next two years, as well as a Pride Month PSA campaign led by WarnerMedia. As part of the Turn Up the Love Campaign, AT&T announced a grant contest in which participants can win a $25K grant for an LGBTQ+ advocacy organization of their choice. AT&T also installed the work of artist Loveis Wise in select AT&T stores throughout the country. The artwork commissioned shows the beauty and diversity of the LGBTQ+ community and will also be featured throughout the Turn Up the Love campaign.
Comcast NBCUniversal published its Pride Month blog post which details the company’s initiatives to share LGBTQ+ stories and voices. Xfinity ‘LGBTQ Film & TV’ gathers together LGBTQ+ film, TV, music and streaming content available on a number of platforms year-round. During Pride Month over 1,000 LGBTQ+ titles are available for free. NBC Out published its annual Pride List, which this year featured 30 LGBTQ+ firsts, who are community members being the first to break into new fields, be featured, and be elected or appointed into office. Telemundo also launched its Celebrando el Mes del Orgullo which features stories of community members, PSAs and other special programming with the goal of fostering support and understanding for the LGBTQ+ Latinx community. Comcast Newsmakers also released a series of interviews with LGBTQ+ leaders and advocates. On June 28th Comcast’s Voices of the Civil Rights Movement will feature Comcast NBCUniversal Joint Diversity Advisory Council member Mark Segal in an interview that discusses the role of the civil rights movement in the fight for LGBTQ+ equality.
This Pride Month, Facebook has launched initiatives to provide mental-health and wellbeing resources, support LGBTQ+ owned businesses, and amplify LGBTQ+ voices. Facebook partnered with NGOs and experts across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa to discuss mental health, share resources, and uplift inclusive Facebook communities. Many local policy organizations are also sharing information and resources on Facebook’s platforms throughout the month. Both Facebook and Instagram have curated #Pride collections to promote shopping at LGBTQ+ owned businesses as well as those supported by the community. On June 23rd in collaboration with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce they will host a live networking event for LGBTQ+ owned businesses. Similar events are being held in Brazil, Mexico, the UK, and France. Facebook is also highlighting voices of LGBTQ+ creators, artists, and trailblazers, that includes talk shows, art installations, and Facebook Live and Facebook Watch sessions. They aired a ‘More Together’ commercial featuring Laverne Cox to advertise the wide range of 34,000 LGBTQ+ Facebook groups available to the community. Finally, Facebook is partnering with PFLAG and SAGE to share resources for coming out conversations.
This June, Google has committed to donating $4 million to support LGBTQ+ communities around the world. This includes a $2 million donation to OutRight Action International’s “Covid-19 Global LGBTIQ Emergency Fund” which provides support to over 100 organizations across 60 countries. Additionally, $1 million is being donated to OutRight Action International in Ad Grants. Google is also making a donation of $1 million in Ad Grants to the Transgender Lawcenter and Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund. This Pride Month, Google is working to connect the LGBTQ+ community with safe spaces. Google Maps now has a feature that shows users which businesses have gender-neutral restrooms in addition to showing which businesses are LGBTQ+ friendly and transgender safe spaces. Google also worked with GLAAD to create a feature on Google Photos that lets you control which Memories come up as a way to make the app more inclusive of transgender users. In addition, Google is honoring LGBTQ+ voices and artists with homepage Google Doodles, artist profiles on their Google Arts & Culture, which includes a collection of 5,000 LGBTQ+ historic photographs by Leonard Fink, and a collection of photos from the first 15 years of pride.
Over the past year Microsoft has donated over $2 million to LGBTQI+ organizations and this Pride Month is donating an additional $150,000 to several organizations, including the ACLU Foundation, OutRight Action International, Act to Change, BEAM, Mermaids, and The Trevor Project. They have also launched a number of pride product designs that reflect 19 different pride flags that represent different identities across the community. On June 24th they are also hosting a virtual pride event “Together We Can” featuring artists, nonprofits, and special guests.
T-Mobile announced this Pride Month that it will give a donation of $1 million to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation’s financial and digital literacy projects. They are donating an additional $250,000 to GLSEN’s initiatives to make schools safer and more inclusive of LGBTQ+ youth.
On June 16th Verizon hosted the virtual panel Words of Pride: Amplifying Our Voices which featured LGBT Tech’s Chris Wood, as well as community leaders from The Trevor Project, PFLAG, and Encircle to discuss how these organizations are working to support and empower LGBTQ+ youth.
While this Pride Month has looked much different than most, it has been an exciting experience to be able to celebrate virtually with people from all over the world. As we virtually celebrate our pride it is important that we continue to stay safe online and use best practices such as using encrypted apps to communicate. Pride Month is a time to amplify our voices and build accessible safe spaces. As we do this online we must remember that many LGBTQ+ people lack basic access to reliable internet service and not only lack the ability to participate in COVID-safe Pride celebrations, but also cannot access many of the necessary resources that have been moved online. Thankfully, the FCC recently introduced Emergency Broadband Benefit, a key resource to ensure that those in our community that lack internet access can get connected.