Rainbow Capitalism

This task force addresses the issue of companies using symbols created by and for the LGBTQ+ community for profit, while not going further, or actively working against equal rights

Task Force: Rainbow Capitalism


You have been asked to join a committee that advises corporate boards on their Pride month campaigns. Your task is to make sure that the boards are not just being “performative”, but are actually taking the opportunity to honor, support, and protect the LGBTQ+ community. 

Why Are We Doing This?

Every June, during Pride month in the US, companies change their logos, products, and advertising campaigns to feature rainbows. However, many of these same companies either don’t go further than surface level changes, or actively work against LGBTQ+ rights by supporting politicians and causes fighting against equality. 


  1. Conduct some research on why activists say that the way companies “support” LGBTQ+ Pride is problematic, from supporting conservative politicians to appropriating language and symbols created by the LGBTQ+ community for profit. 
  2. Now, think about ways that companies can go beyond using rainbows to sell merchandise during Pride month. Think about: 
    1. What are the main issues with “rainbow capitalism” and how can companies work to correct them? 
    2. How would you advise companies to support the LGBTQ+ community on a deeper level? 
    3. What would it look like for companies to use their money and power to further LGBTQ+ rights? 
    4. Is there anything you can do to regulate/control how companies use Pride marketing? 
    5. How can companies make sure their Pride campaigns are as inclusive as possible?  
  3. Think through the possible objections to your ideas. How would you respond?  
  4. Share with the group and see if you can convince them that your ideas will be successful at solving the problematic use of rainbow/pride marketing. 

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • You do not have to come up with an exhaustive policy. It’s better to come up with a few ideas that you feel confident with and spend time thinking through possible objections to them. 
  • You don’t have to worry about answering all possible objections, but you should have some defense of why you think your idea would work. 
  • Your suggestions should be things that companies could realistically implement.