I find myself getting frustrated around this time of year (Pride month) at campaigners complaining about so-called ‘rainbow washing’.
This is putting off some organisations that are doing great work trying to improve the diversity of our industry from using this visible and inexpensive way of showing their support of the LGBTQ+ community.
My message is simple: doing nothing is worse than doing something and getting negative Tweets from a few killjoy cynics. I caveat that with the advice that you need to substantiate its use with tangible actions in supporting your LGBTQ+ employees and customers.
It seems fashionable to knock the use of rainbow flags, lanyards, lighting up buildings, changing logos and other forms of ‘rainbow washing’. Frankly, our industry is still at an early stage of improving our diversity and showing that we are an industry that welcomes everyone, and not using this visible and fun weapon in our armoury is madness in my view.
The LGBTQ+ movement has grown since the Stonewall Uprising in 1969, with countries around the world holding Pride celebrations. I remember my first Pride march in London as a ‘fledgling gay’ some 30 years ago. For the first time in my life, I celebrated my joy at being gay with thousands of others doing the same. That is what the spirit of Pride should be – a celebration, while still reflecting on our history and ongoing issues.
I recall when Freehold worked with RICS, flying a rainbow flag from the front of its HQ in Parliament Square in 2016. It was a very emotional moment.
We now march in Pride in London and other regional Prides, proudly representing the property and construction industries alongside Changing the Face of Property, RICS, Building Equality, Planning Out, LGBT in FM and many others.
I call on everyone to show their support of their LGBTQ+ friends, family, and colleagues by decorating their building, office, tea point or home workstation as if a rainbow had thrown up all over it.
Pride in London is currently planned for 11 September this year.
Happy Pride everyone!
David Mann is partner at TFT