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Unpacking the real problem with “Rainbow-Washing”.

The glitter has settled on another Mardi Gras, and Sydney is awash with abandoned rainbow flags. While the first year following World Pride was quieter than we usually expect, and heartbreaking current affairs overtook many celebrations, you still wouldn’t have had to look far to find a rainbow in the city over the weekend.

Supporting members of the LGBTQIA+ community has always been and will always be crucial to Mardi Gras weekend. Unfortunately, however, what has become too common practice is brands that show no support for this community at any other time of the year but slap a rainbow filter over the top of their logo for one weekend only.

This is referred to as “rainbow washing”, and it ultimately refers to the practice in which companies actively signal support for the LGBTQIA+ community without actually doing any work that supports these members both inside and outside of their organisation. “In the worst cases, organisations use the rainbow flag in their logo, marketing campaigns and work spaces, but then discriminate or actively lobby against LGBTAI+ rights at other times,” said Patrick Guerrera, chief executive officer at Re.

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