Pride Month 2023 has come to a close, and it was an eventful one! The month began with a handful of major corporations being shoved into the spotlight over LGBTQ+ brand partnerships. First, the Anheuser-Busch (BUDFF) brand Bud Light was boycotted vocally by conservatives after a TikTok partnership with a beloved transgender influencer. Soon after, Target’s (TGT) – Get Free Report annual Pride collection was met with right-wing rage, and in some cases, customers damaged merchandise.
In both instances, company responses left a lot to be desired by the LGBTQ+ community. Sure, as soon as June rolls around, every major company slaps a rainbow on its logo — but can a company actually support Pride?
Do Political Donations Count?
The common authority on a company’s commitment to the LGBTQ+ community is the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)’s Corporate Equality Index. This guide for queer-conscious shoppers scores major corporations on various factors, like internal employment policies and a “public commitment to the LGBTQ community.”
The HRC doesn’t, however, account for donations to political action committees (PACs). After all, most major companies make multiple donations to candidates across party lines. But with anti-trans and LGBTQ+ legislation on the rise, many argue that large donations from major companies are funding policy-makers that create laws that harm LGBTQ+ people.
According to recent research by Popular Information, several major companies celebrating Pride dumped money into PACs that support such laws in 2022. And you might be surprised at a few of the biggest spenders.
In 2021, AT&T (T) – Get Free Report signed a letter drafted by the HRC committing to standing against “bills being introduced in statehouses across the country that single out LGBTQ individuals – many specifically targeting transgender youth – for exclusion or differential treatment.” That same year, the communications company donated at least $1,052,000 to anti-LGBTQ politicians.
Since 2022, AT&T has reportedly donated at least $1,396,650 to anti-LGBTQ politicians at the state and federal levels.
In 2020, Comcast signed the HRC’s Business Statement on Anti-LGBTQ+ State Legislation, which read that the signatories were “[clearly opposed] to harmful legislation aimed at restricting the access of LGBTQ people in society.”
But according to Popular Information, the media giant donated more than $472,500 to campaigns and PACs of several anti-LGBTQ+ politicians since 2022. It also gave $115,000 to state legislators in Florida, Tennessee, and Texas sponsoring anti-LGBTQ laws. This includes Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R_TN), Gov. Bill Lee (R-TN), and other politicians responsible for legislation attempting to ban gender-affirming care for trans children, public drag shows, and more.
This home-repair mega-retailer scores 90 out of 100 on the Corporate Equality Index — but since 2022, Home Depot has reportedly donated at least $784,200 to anti-LGBTQ politicians.
That includes $31,250 donated to anti-LGBTQ+ politicians in North Carolina and Texas. $8,500 was given to five Texas politicians supporting a ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth.
In response to Popular Information, Home Depot wrote of its donations to PACs that “our associate-funded PAC supports candidates on both sides of the aisle who champion pro-business, pro-retail positions that create jobs and economic growth.”
Anheuser-Busch & More
In what may (or may not) be the most shocking revelation to come from the report, Bud Light’s parent company Anheuser-Busch has reportedly donated $227,108 to anti-LGBTQ politicians since January 2022.
In total, these companies and more have donated more than $13.5 million to legislators supporting anti-LGBTQ+ causes. The list includes more major companies, like CVS Pharmacy (CVS) – Get Free Report, Amazon (AMZN) – Get Free Report, Walmart (WMT) – Get Free Report, Wells Fargo (WFC) – Get Free Report, Delta Airlines (DAL) – Get Free Report, UPS (UPS) – Get Free Report, General Motors (GM) – Get Free Report, and more. Many of these companies have great rankings on the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index.