Call it the “Disney Effect” — after the fallout over the entertainment company’s tussle with Florida’s governor and legislature over the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, many companies and their executives are now far too spooked to speak up over such challenges as the continuing assaults on reproductive rights and those of the queer community. But at a time when corporate silence over governments’ trampling on the rights of some citizens is deafening, Unilever’s ongoing actions stand tall.
The CPG giant has just announced a plan that it says could boost the quality of life for LGBTQ communities across the U.S., particularly those within rural areas and for queer people of color as well.
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By offering support to various local partners, Unilever will help launch programs that focus on problems such as the fight against conversion therapy, HIV decriminalization, youth homelessness, anti-bullying campaigns, mental health and even nutrition programs centered around the LGBTQ community. In addition, Unilever says it will lend a hand to tackle anti-transgender legislation that is sweeping across the U.S. So far, the company has signed on to various campaigns that are urging state legislatures to stop enacting anti-LGBTQ and anti-trans laws.
This year, through its ongoing United We Stand campaign, Unilever will assist in the launching of such efforts and work with LGBTQ communities located in Monroe, Louisiana; Moore, Oklahoma; Clemson, South Carolina; Florence, Alabama; and throughout Southern Missouri. The five areas are among the U.S. municipalities that score low on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index, meaning they lack support services and non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people.
Nonprofits and community groups that will carry out these programs include local chapters of Louisiana’s Forum for Equality, South Carolina Black Pride and PFLAG.
This work is certainly more than what many companies offer, which is a rainbow slapped on the corporate logo and shown during Pride Month, a token gesture that's reached a point at which many in the queer community dismiss it as "rainbow washing."
“We are continuing to work closely with local grassroots organizations in areas where LGBTQI+ support is needed the most,” said Fabian Garcia, Unilever North America’s president, in an emailed statement to TriplePundit. “We saw these organizations do meaningful work over the last year and want to continue supporting their impactful programs through our United We Stand campaign year-round.”
Image credit: Anete Lusina via Pexels
Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.
Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.