Beyond rainbows: How big tech is doing more for Pride Month – IGWIIKI

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During the month of June, many organizations show their support for Pride Month by displaying rainbow symbols on their logos, uniforms, and social media pages. And while these gestures do indeed help to promote some level of awareness and solidarity, they’re also not particularly impactful in the world outside our screens. So in an effort to showcase and celebrate the companies that went above and beyond to support Pride in more substantial ways, we surveyed the tech landscape in search of companies that did more than just fly the rainbow flag for a few weeks. Here are a few that caught our eye:

Apple

A woman sports the 2022 Apple Watch pride band.

In addition to banning anti-LGBTQ apps and participating in other efforts to support the community, Apple released two Pride Month Apple Watch Pride bands this year, providing a clear and wearable way for its customers to show support for the LGBTQ+ community in the real world.

Apple also came out with Pride Threads and Nike Pride Threads watch faces, which are available for download for Apple Watch users with Apple Watch Series 4 or later (your watch will need watchOS 8.6 and your iPhone will need to be running 15.5 or later).

Draft Kings

Graphic for DraftKings x Out in Tech Pride Month collaboration

DraftKings is an online sports betting, fantasy sports, and online casino platform. The brand joined with Out in Tech, which is an organization that aims to unite the LGBTQ+ tech community and helps create opportunities for the community in the tech field.

Together, the two created a free-to-play Pride Month pool, and for every entry, DraftKings donated $1 to Out in Tech. DraftKings also showed support for other diversity initiatives like American Veterans for Equal Rights, pledging $25,000 to the organization.

GitLab

GitLab, a software platform that helps to automate and streamline the software development cycle, was founded in 2011. Over its decade-long journey, the company has seen a demand for change by society, and the brand seems to be rising to the occasion.

The company includes diversity and inclusion as one of its main core values. The GitLab “Pride Issue Board” also holds events like a “transgender day of visibility” and a “coming out day, which is designed to “connect employees at GitLab that are part of the LGBTQ+ community, or are allies, with professional and personal opportunities to meet others, speak at events, and share their lived experiences to improve and strengthen our community,” the company website reports.

Skillsoft

A collage of Skillsoft's "Off the Shelf" picks for Pride Month 2022.

Skillsoft is a company that provides cloud-based corporate learning tools and content. The brand has a virtual book club that features monthly book selections. For Pride Month 2022, the company selected an array of books that discuss different LGBTQ+ civil rights topics. For instance, one of the books on the list is The Book of Pride, which talks about the story of the gay rights movement over the last 60 years.

Skillsoft has adopted other initiatives too. For instance, in 2021, Skillsoft promoted the #YouAreIncluded pronoun inclusion initiative. After 10 months, this initiative resulted in a 38% increase in the adoption of pronoun use in employee e-mail signatures.

Microsoft

A collage for Pride Month 2022 at Microsoft.

As a brand that included sexual orientation in its discrimination policies in 1989 and began offering benefits to same-sex partnerships in 1993, Microsoft has been ahead of the curve in many ways. This year, the brand released an Xbox Pride Controller and other pride apps and gear, which helped its customers show support for their LGBTQ+ friends, family, and community. Microsoft also puts its money into the cause, donating $170,000 to LGBTQ+ non-profits, and that’s on top of the $8 million the company donated along with its employees since last year.

The company’s Microsoft Unlocked — a platform that includes stories, content, and events — features a Pride edition as its inaugural edition. On top of that, Microsoft’s Global LGBTQ+ Employee and Allies at Microsoft Employee Resource Group (GLEAM) has been expanding its efforts and spreading awareness for additional gender and sexual identities.

Google

Google sign displaying pride colors at their office building in Chelsea
Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

This year, Google.org committed $4 million (as well as additional assistance) to LGBTQ+ businesses affected by COVID-19, and also built on some of the Pride initiatives it has launched in years past.

In 2019, the search engine giant commemorated the historic 1969 Stonewall riots with the interactive Stonewall Forever Monument. This year, Google and Google.org have been able to provide almost $1 million to “Pride Live,” an LGBTQ+ activism and awareness group that’s working to secure the lease to the Stonewall Inn and renovate it to create the Stonewall National Monument and Visitor Center.

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