As a growing number of businesses look for ways to celebrate and welcome the 2SLGBTQI+ community, some are enjoying a more positive reception than others.
At worst, some businesses have thoughtlessly and recklessly blown past the purpose and meaning of PRIDE (and the very real people behind it) to snatch at the marketing and business development opportunities the community offers. Others commit the social and business of faux pas of joining in on social media without realizing they should be making a meaningful, long-term commitment to engage with and welcome the 2SLGBTQI+ community.
Like most things in life, you can’t reap the rewards without putting in the work, and the work is simple enough to start if your intentions are solid. You don’t invite people you’ve never met to a party, right? Similarly, businesses should expect to have some skin in the game to share in the celebration. This can start small, with a commitment to listen and learn from the 2SLGBTQI+ community (starting with understanding what PRIDE is really all about) and understanding and investing in what they as consumers need to feel safe, included and welcome.
Some operators may well ask how they would know if their business is truly 2SLGBTQI+ friendly, but not to worry. Canada’s 2SLGBTQI+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) offers a comprehensive accreditation program for Canadian businesses seeking evaluation, learning and support in attaining certified-2SLGBTQI+ friendly status: the Rainbow Registered Program.
The Rainbow Registered program is an accreditation program that grants time-limited recognition and marketing rights to enrolled businesses that meet or surpass their stringent standards that ensure 2SLGBTQI+ guests feel safe, welcomed and accepted. Accredited businesses are then given access to promote their success by using the program’s prestigious Rainbow Registered domain mark, access to Associate Member benefits and a listing in the Rainbow Registered Directory.
The Directory identifies and promotes accredited hospitality, tourism and other businesses across Canada and is a growing destination for 2SLGBTQI+ consumers, a one-million strong market per Statistics Canada estimates. Connor McKiggan, Rainbow Registered business development manager, also points out that not only is the Canadian 2SLGBTQI+ community large, it’s also loyal. “When folks see a business on the Rainbow Registered website, they know that it’s not just about hanging a rainbow flag—they’ve actually made active commitments within our space. That’s something that folks want to encourage and invest in. It’s a really great way to potentially bring a lot of new business into your space.”
The CGLCC also offers business and networking support for 2SLGBTQI+ business owners and a growing Supplier Diversity Program, in collaboration with other certification-granting members of the Supplier Diversity Alliance Canada (SDAC).