How to Support LGBTQ+ Businesses During Pride Month and Avoiding Rainbow Washing

Happy LGBTQ+ Month! This year, we want to show appreciation to all LGBTQ+-owned businesses and their impact on our community. We hope you can join us in supporting their businesses this month and every month. In an ever-progressing world, it’s essential to contribute in any way possible to uplift the LGBTQ+ community. Stay tuned as we showcase some of our clients and the resources available.

Before diving into the ways of celebrating this month, it’s important to understand the history of how and why June is designated as Pride Month. Dating back to 1969, the idea of celebrating the LGBTQ+ community spurred due to the Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, New York. Due to various oppositions against the LGBTQ+ community during the 60s, the uprising was a key factor in creating and advancing social change. As progress continues to be made, it is important to understand the proper ways to support while avoiding some harmful corporate actions, such as “rainbow washing”.

What is “Rainbow Washing” and How to Avoid It: 

Showing support throughout each month for the LGBTQ+ community is important, however, it is crucial to understand the appropriate ways to celebrate. The term “rainbow washing” is a concept in which businesses use Pride Month as an excuse to make a profit. Whether it be selling rainbow-themed products such as t-shirts or simply putting a rainbow on top of logos or merchandise during June, the issue lies in prioritizing profits over the true cause.

How to spot rainbow washing and some questions to ask: 

  1. Do profits directly benefit the LGBTQ+ community?
  • If companies are selling rainbow-themed products, are the profits going towards LGBTQ+ organizations/communities?
  1. Are LGBTQ+ people involved in the creation and promotion of campaigns?
  • It’s important that people from the LGBTQ+ community are actively involved with the process of the creative and promotional aspects of campaigns. This is to provide a genuine perspective and ultimately enhance the message. 
  1. Do businesses maintain LGBTQ+ inclusion beyond the month of June?
  • Seeing if businesses continually support people in the LGBTQ+ community even after pride month is over is key. Companies truly supporting the community should maintain a level of activeness in their respective communities, not only during June.
  1. Does the company itself have an LGBTQ+ inclusive environment?
  • When businesses themselves show acceptance and inclusiveness for LGBTQ+ people, it further reinforces their cause and helps show that they truly care. 

LGBTQ+ Businesses to Support in the Orange County and Inland Empire:

Looking for a local LGBTQ+ business to support? Here are a few businesses in California via our California Shop Small e-commerce site you can choose from: 

For more LGBTQ+ businesses, check out California Shop Small’s directory here!


Below are just a few of the available resources offered; to view them all, click here. These resources include:

  • Certifications
  • Local organizations
  • Businesses
  • Business development
  • Funding
  • Networking 

Desert Business Association

  • The Desert Business Association (DBA) is comprised of about 250 LGBTQ and allied businesses and professionals from across the Coachella Valley who have joined together for business promotion, economic development, educational, and humanitarian purposes.

LGBT Inclusion Hub for Small Businesses

  • The platform provides information on diversity and why it’s essential to focus on inclusion in the workplace. There are also guides for creating inclusive workplace practices and leadership tips for LGTBQ professionals.

LGBT Business Enterprise LGBTBE Certification

  • The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) is the exclusive, third-party certification body that verifies that eligible businesses are majority-owned by LGBT individuals, and subsequently grants Certified LGBT Business Enterprise® (Certified LGBTBE®) designation to such businesses.

Looking to get your business LGBTQ+ certified? Join our LGBTQ+ certification webinar on June 28, 2022 at 12 PM to learn how! Sign up here:

Looking to start or grow your business?

We at the Orange County Inland Empire SBDC, are here to help you with every aspect of your business to help it grow and become successful.
Give us a call at 1-800-616-7232 or schedule a quick, 15-minute intake appointment at to see how we can help you start, grow, and succeed.