September 16, 2020
Last Sunday, Jack Dorsey the CEO of Twitter came under fire for posting a tweet about the discount he obtained at Chick-fil-A on making a purchase via the mobile app. Chick-fil-A’s owner is quite infamous for his views against gay marriage.
Although Dorsey was quick to realise his mistake, albeit after some prompting from viewers, and quickly apologized; this issue brings to fore many similar situations where even individuals or businesses have erroneously, patronized the services of anti-LGBT businesses. It is heartening to note that social media is quick to call out their blunder thereby shaming the business that is anti-LGBT and even making others aware of the same.
It is a welcome sign not just for LGBT+ rights issues but other issues that impact all of us in general as well, be they the environment, enforcing labour laws, women’s rights issues etc. People, both LGBT and otherwise, need to take charge and send across a strong message to such businesses by boycotting their products and by spreading awareness about their wrongful acts/views using social media. It is only when the bottom line feels a pinch that a business sits up and takes notice.
Slowly but surely, back home in India thanks to the entry of giant MNCs like Microsoft, Google, AT&T, IBM, LinkedIn, KPMG, Barclays, Goldman Sachs, Virgin and several others, awareness towards being an LGBT friendly businesses are increasing and the goodwill has caught onto other Indian conglomerates and companies as well. Some of these progressive and inclusive corporate citizens are Godrej, Tata Sons, Mahindra & Mahindra, Lupin Laboratories, Dr Reddy’s, Wipro and Tech Mahindra. Check out the companies and brands that supported the Bengaluru Pride in 2017 here.
According to one report, Nisaba Godrej, a Director at Godrej, said in an email, “I would be proud if we create a culture where our LGBT colleagues can be comfortable being ‘out’ at work and every single one of us is inclusive and respectful of it.”
Tata Steel aims to have “25% of its Tata Steel workers from diverse groups by 2020. Of this, 5% will be from the LGBT+ community”. Harish Bhat, managing director and CEO of Tata Global Beverages is quoted as saying, “The LGBT lifestyle… is a perfectly natural space that exists in our world.”
Businesses are national citizens too and individuals and businesses lead a symbiotic relationship where each helps shape the other. By being inclusive in their policies they are not just being ‘socially correct’ but economically too.
As a whole new generation of a million+ Indians grows up, it experiments, determines and vocalises its own sexuality. Ignoring such numbers and making regressive statements like in the case of companies like Patanjali would not only be detrimental to business but would also come at it’s own peril.