At a glance

Quick summary

  • Free download: Queer Friendly Website Icon Pack (Click here to jump to that section)
  • Tons of ideas: This post includes a bunch of ideas for flaunting how queer-inclusive your business is!
  • Mindset shifts: It also includes a lots of ideas for getting your head on straight (sorry, I had to)
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Mindset

Before you start updating your website, it’s important to get wrap your mind around a few key ideas:

1. Do your best

  • Times change — fast. Nobody has all the answers, and today’s sure-thing might be tomorrow’s mistake.
  • Don’t let fear of being wrong prevent you from showing your support for the queer community. And, if (when) you’re wrong, admit it, apologize, and adapt.
  • As a queer person myself, I hesitated to even create this post for fear of being criticized. But, I didn’t let it stop me, and neither should you!

2. Celebrate pride all year

  • Rainbows and June go together like PB&J.
  • But, you can, and should, show off your queer pride 365 days of the year.
  • Keep queer symbols up on your website; reflect queer values in your copy; feature queer folks in your branding. Demonstrate your commitment all year long.

3. Avoid rainbow washing

  • Queer pride is about more than just a rainbow logo
  • Rainbow-washing is when a business publicly shows support for the LGBTQ+ community (think: changing social media avatars or publishing support statements at the start of Pride Month) but privately engages in practices that are detrimental to those who identify as LGBTQ+ (The Skimm)
  • My guess is that you’re not planning to do things detrimental to the community.
  • But! You should work to keep your advocacy authentic and rooted in a true desire to do good for the community.

4. Embrace more than the ‘white picket fence’

  • Forbes says it well: “The experiences of a high-earning white gay man in New York are much different than those of a low-income trans Asian woman in Alabama.”
  • “Avoid marketing only to the “white picket fence” (primarily high-earning, privileged white males) by envisioning campaigns that include the entire community.”
  • These are both excerpted from the Forbes article 10 Ways To Ensure A Successful Pride Month Marketing Campaign

5. Do your research

  • Nobody has all the answers, and things are constantly changing. So, if you’re not sure about something, take the time to learn more!
  • The first step is to do research on your own. Rely heavily on queer-focused sources first, and then credible major sources thereafter.
  • Then, if you’ve put in effort conducting research and you’re still unsure, reach out to queer colleagues, friends, or family members for help!

6. Own it when you mess up

  • We all make mistakes. But, it’s how we react to them that truly counts.
  • If you say or do something that’s called out for being less-than-inclusive, own the mistake and take real steps to fix it.
  • The first real step is to offer a true apology. Below you’ll find a graphic from the incredible Brené Brown with the ingredients for a true apology.
Nine Essential Ingredients of a True Apology
Nine Essential Ingredients of a True Apology

7. Allies are essential

  • You don’t have to be queer to flaunt queer pride. It is essential that non-queer folks stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the community.
  • Speak your mind and share your story.
  • Just be sure that you’re mindful of your own privilege, and you’re respectful of the struggles and realities of queer people.

8. Establish queer-inclusive policies

  • As a business, having and following inclusive policies is a must.
  • These policies include everything from broad nondiscrimination clauses, to harassment policies, to guarantees to create inclusive content and copy, to modern parental leave and access to quality healthcare.

Website

Here are some ideas you can incorporate into your website and other digital assets to flaunt your queer-inclusivity!

9. Add queer-inclusive icons to your website

  • Download our free Queer Friendly Website Icon Pack!
Queer Friendly Website Icon Pack
Queer Friendly Website Icon Pack
  • Display any or all of them on your site to let visitors know at-a-glance that your business is is queer-inclusive
  • They’re free and don’t require attribution (but, attribution would be greatly appreciated!)

10. Add queer-inclusive attributes to your business profile on Google

  • Did you know you could add similar icons to your Google business profile (link below)?
  • They have LGBTQ Friendly, Transgender Safeplace, and Gender-neutral Restroom attributes
  • While this isn’t for your actual website, it’s another great opportunity to show off your Pride!

FREE TOOL // Tools and resources for LGBTQ-friendly businesses (Google)
Helping LGBTQ-friendly businesses succeed year-round.

Click here to go to the tools

11. Feature queer people in your images

  • As a kid in the early 2000s, I noticed every instance of Queer representation in the media. From TV characters to advertisements, seeing other people like me gave me hope and pride.
  • Representation is everything, and you can help!
  • Show Queer people in your images. Talk about Queer folks on your website. Represent the Queer community in your marketing.
  • The website for Christa Graham Weddings & Events, a local business in Metro Detroit, is a shining example of what it’s like to feature inclusive imagery.

12. Feature queer clients

  • If you’ve worked with queer clients in the past, feature them on your website
  • Stories, photos, and testimonials are all great ways to show off what you do and that you’re a queer-inclusive business!
  • Be sure to get their permission first, though!

13. Feature queer team members

  • Another excellent strategy for demonstrating your commitment to queer-inclusion is by showing off your company’s diversity on your Team page.
  • Include details about your queer team members naturally, and not by splashing their section with rainbows (and nothing else).
  • Instead, try things like use a photo of them with a partner, mentioning their partner by name, talking about their volunteer work with the queer community, etc.
  • Again, be sure to get their permission!

14. Ensure inclusive images and copy are where everyone can see them!

  • Lots of companies try to demonstrate their commitment to inclusion by creating a single page that’s buried several levels down within your site. This isn’t enough.
  • In fact, when I encounter queer content that’s only accessible when you specifically search for it, it screams as inauthentic and like the company just trying to placate some folks without ruffling any feathers. This is not inclusive.
  • Avoid doing this by mixing in queer-focused content with everything else that’s front and center!
  • Feature diverse images on your Home, About, Team, and Careers pages.
  • Ensure your copy is inclusive everywhere throughout your site.
  • Speaking of inclusive copy…

15. Use inclusive language

  • “LGBTQ+ inclusive language, in simplest terms, is language that doesn’t make assumptions or include negativity about the LGBTQ+ population.” (Premier Nursing Academy)
  • Avoid reinforcing the gender binary by avoiding phrases like “opposite-sex” or “his/hers”
  • Ensure that your copy is inclusive by trying these simple swaps:
Instead of…Try…
Hey guysHey all; Good morning everyone; Afternoon!
Ladies and gentlemenFolks; Everyone; Y’all; All; Colleagues; Friends
Assuming you know someone’s pronounsUsing “they” until they specify one
Using Mr., Ms., etc.Using their first name unless otherwise specified

Note
The English language has evolved to include the singular ‘they’ (e.g., “What tools does he/she need?” becomes “What tools do they need?”). This is 100% acceptable, and is also 100% preferable from an inclusivity standpoint.

16. Publish inclusive policies

  • As discussed above, having and abiding by inclusive policies is critical.
  • Once you’ve done the work of establishing those policies, publish them (or a summarized version) on your website!
  • The About page is a great spot
  • You could also list them on your Careers page for prospective employees

17. Sell queer-inclusive products

  • Selling products that celebrate queer pride and/or queer culture is a phenomenal way to boost the inclusivity of your site.
  • This tip is definitely subject to the type of business you’ve got
  • If you want some product ideas, head over to Etsy and search for ‘queer pride’, ‘lgbtq’, or ‘queer’.
  • Be sure to list these products for sale year-round, not just in June!

18. Contribute to queer causes

  • Consider giving a portion of your proceeds, especially from the sale of queer-focused products, to queer causes.
  • The Trevor Project is a phenomenal choice.

19. Plan a pride campaign that features queer stories

  • Featuring real stories of queer folks — clients, customers, team members, etc. — is a wonderful, authentic way to show your support for the queer community
  • This is an instance where focusing on the month of June is acceptable (assuming that you’re not rainbow washing)!
  • The campaign could include things like featured blog posts, boosting the visibility of your queer-inclusive product line, featuring work from your queer employees, etc.

20. Partner with queer-owned businesses

  • Reach out to other queer-owned businesses in your industry and ask to partner with them
  • You could curate a list of preferred vendors, and add special tags to denote which are Queer Friendly, Trans Safeplace, etc.

21. Promote queer-owned businesses

  • This is a great way to celebrate pride month!
  • Use your megaphone — via your website, email, social, etc., — to promote queer-owned businesses!
  • You could also promote queer-inclusive businesses too!

22. Run queer-inclusive ads

  • Include queer folks and inclusive copy in your ads
  • Also, avoid targeting only queer folks with your queer-inclusive ads!

23. Create a Belonging page

  • Create a page that details your company’s commitment to equity and inclusion
  • You can include all of your queer-inclusive policies, stories about queer team members, the icons from our free Queer Friendly Website Icon Pack
  • Be sure to feature it in a prominent place! Don’t bury it.
  • Also, as a reminder, be sure that it’s not the only place on your site where you feature queer-inclusive images and copy.

24. Support pro-queer legislation

  • Be vocal in support of legislation that protects the queer community
  • Examples include hate crimes bills, nondiscrimination bills, and bills that allow trans folks to participate in athletics
  • Use your megaphone to support these types of policies!
  • If you create a Belonging page on your site, it’s a perfect spot to publish your support for such policies

25. Speak out against anti-queer legislation

  • Similarly, you can use your megaphone to advocate against anti-queer legislation
  • Examples include Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill and North Carolina’s bathroom bill
  • If you create a Belonging page on your site, it’s a perfect spot to publish your opposition to such policies
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Others? Questions?

Any thoughts or questions? Anything with which you disagree? Anything I missed?

Leave a comment below and let me know!