Advocating for Equality: The Role of Public Relations During Pride Month

As we enter the month of June, we recognize and celebrate Pride Month – which began as a recognition month to honor the 1969 Stonewall Riots, has become a brand unto itself that promotes equality for the greater LGBTQ+ community.  Beyond mere celebration, this month offers an opportunity to bring awareness to and advocate for continued equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community. PR is a strategic communication practice that aims to build mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their target audiences. Within the context of equality advocacy, PR professionals play a vital role in shaping public perception, influencing media coverage, and promoting positive social change.  

There are many ways to do this, from celebrating important advancements to calling out discriminatory practices. As communicators we are also conversation starters and storytellers who have the power to bring visibility, perspective, and depth to the topic. 

Here are just a few ways PR practitioners can advocate for equality this Pride Month.  

LGBTQ+ Media  

Think outside the mainstream media box. There are dozen for LGBTQ-focused news outlets in the U.S., including Philly Gay News in Philadelphia where Maven is headquartered. Many of these outlets were started when no other news outlet would cover LGBTQ-focused topics, including the AIDS crisis, in a comprehensive and meaningful way. Today, many continue as community papers that are a platform for the LGBTQ+ community to communicate with each other as well as with the mainstream community. If your city has a LGBTQ-focused news outlet, it should definitely be on your regular pitch list. And if it does not, look for media outlets that give adequate and fair coverage to LGBTQ+ topics.  

LGBTQ+ Spokespersons and Thought Leaders  

A large role that PR practitioners play is positioning individuals at client companies as thought leaders or industry experts. While most companies hand select individuals for thought leader positioning, as a hired consultant, it’s your responsibility to suggest other candidates that they may be overlooking, including minorities and members of the LGBTQ+ community. In this way you are giving a literal voice to someone as a spokesperson.  

Finding Opportunities for Inclusive Dialogue  

“Newsjacking” is a term used for a tactic that involves inserting a new perspective into an ongoing news story. It’s a common tactic for incorporating a client into a trending story. It is also an effectively way to strategically insert an LGBTQ+ perspective into a broader conversation. This type of media pitching can drive conversations around equality, challenge stereotypes, and even inspire change. The next time you’re scanning the news, look at it through an LGBTQ+ perspective and see if you can find an opportunity to add value and additional perspective to the conversation.  

Community Partnerships  

A powerful and effective way to connect an organization to a cause is through community partnerships. By partnering with LGBTQ+ nonprofits, initiatives, and community groups, organizations can not only raise awareness for the group and their cause, but also provide needed financial support, services, or expertise. If part of your PR strategy is to partner with community organizations, make sure that LGBTQ+ groups are part of the list being considered.   

Encourage and Promote Volunteerism 

While volunteering can and should be done throughout the year, this month is a great month to find a nonprofit that benefits the LGBTQ+ community. Whether it’s a group event or an individual volunteering for just a few hours, find ways to bring visibility to the effort and the organization. Include the volunteerism on the “About Us” page of a website, post on social media and tag the organization, or create a Facebook fundraiser to harness the power of your network.  

A few LGBTQ+ Non-profit organizations to consider supporting: 

  • The National Center for Transgender Equality is a social justice organization that focuses its efforts on advancing the civil rights of transgender people, working to advocate for awareness and equality through media campaigns and public policy. 
  • SAGE (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders) offers cultural competency training programs for senior care centers, so those who regularly care for or interact with seniors can help to create an affirming, inclusive environment. Through the National LGBT Housing Initiative, SAGE matches LGBT elders with affordable housing where they will be welcomed. 
  • The Point Foundation’s college scholarship fund helps incoming LGBTQ+ students who demonstrate financial need, academic achievement and a history of active community leadership and service to pay for their education. 

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