This past weekend over 1.5 million people took to the streets of London to mark 50 years since the first Stonewall uprising in New York.

With so much revelry on the streets is Pride now more of a party or a protest? Sadly, when same-sex couples still don’t feel safe holding hands or kissing in public it must remain both.

Questions have also been asked of brands lining the route which have been using the flag in their shop windows – is this a good thing? H&M has an entire Pride clothing range, Topshop has adorned its façade with rainbow dots while others like Wasabi and Pret have decorated their shop fronts and are giving a small portion of their profits from certain product ranges to relevant charities.

There is support among the LGBTQIA community for companies promoting Pride and raising awareness through their branding but there’s also criticism if brands aren’t seen to go deeper than just a colourful shop window. Are companies walking the walk, do they invest in charitable initiatives to support diversity and inclusion throughout the year? In the way that there has been a lot of talk of greenwashing, companies must make sure that there is more to Pride than window dressing.

They must understand the history behind the rainbow flag and play an active role in supporting their staff and customers, leading by example, if they are to truly help make a difference.

In an age where we are continuing to learn so much about what makes us who were are, and are encouraged to celebrate our differences, we should try not to lose sight of what connects us. It is wonderful to celebrate individuality but we’re all actually a lot more similar than we think. It’s those in society – be they brands, politicians or individuals – that can reconcile these two things who can really celebrate with Pride.


Emma Molton headshot

Emma Molton is a director at Camargue