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The world wasn’t able to celebrate Pride as per usual this year. But there’s still a lot brands can do to support the LGBTQ+ community, other than posting a ra

The world wasn’t able to celebrate Pride as per usual this year. But there’s still a lot brands can do to support the LGBTQ+ community, other than posting a rainbow flag version of their logo. So we spoke to Clayton Mercieca from Malta Pride and ARC

How do brands typically support Pride? Is sponsoring or donating to the cause enough?

Malta Pride, usually celebrated in September, started in 2004. At the time it was organised by MGRM, but coordination shifted to ARC (Allied Rainbow Communities) in 2016. 

Financial sponsorships began in 2017 when companies noticed increased hype and community engagement around Pride. Before any financial aid existed, local artists and businesses would offer their time and talent voluntarily. 

Contrary to the popular belief that Malta’s Pride festivities like the annual March & Concert in Valletta are entirely state-financed, support from Government entities usually amounts to around 10% of the total annual budget. 

In fact, it’s the iGaming sector that has been the strongest financial supporter of Pride, followed by food and beverage companies and alongside intense year-round fundraising by ARC.

Sponsorships help us hugely in strengthening the LGBTQ+ movement because we’re able to produce higher quality events, whilst offering more opportunities to those who want to run social projects or initiatives for LGBTQ+ causes. 

In 2019, with an increase in financial support, we had the capacity to finance a Fashion Show with entirely LGBTQ+ talent and a very well-attended Cabaret night, besides the biggest Pride March and Concert ever organised in Malta. Without financial support, these events would be impossible to actualise.  

Changing a logo is merely cosmetic. Impact comes from brands establishing LGBTQ+ policies that foster acceptance, belonging and empowerment.

Clayton Mercieca, Malta Pride & ARC

Any profits made during Pride are retained by ARC to support LGBTQ+ individuals in crisis situations. This year, we were able to support persons facing homelessness and expensive life-saving medication, and we also financed exchanges of LGBTQ+ best practices between different countries.

Sponsoring Pride clearly creates a ripple effect of benefits. Nevertheless, we understand that certain brands are not always in a position to support us financially, yet they can still go a long way in implementing positive change. 

We encourage brands to engage in discussions with us to analyse how LGBTQ+ friendly they are. For instance, it is not enough to proclaim being an 'equal opportunities employer' if you then fail to use the correct pronouns, provide parental leave to same-sex parents or support employees undergoing transitioning. 

Brands can also be allies to the LGBTQ+ community by ensuring they do not work with companies that are homophobic or transphobic.

Companies should make the conscientious effort to offer equal employment opportunities irrespective of sexual orientation, identity or gender in the way they advertise recruitment and market their brand. 

Just to pick on one example, trans individuals tend to struggle with acquiring a solid education, which prevents them from accessing the labour market and well-paid jobs. In recognising this, brands can make a concerted endeavour to offer internships, scholarships or gradual employment to trans talent. 

How can brands support Pride this year even though most events have been cancelled?

We have suffered a great deal financially this year, but we understand that everyone has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we were thrilled that a few companies still pledged to donate to ARC, and this gives us much courage to keep working for a better Pride next year. 

Brands applying rainbows to their identity during Pride month would mean the world, if done in countries where the state still sponsors homophobia, because they would be taking a strong stand. In Malta, where rights are the top in Europe, I find this practice a bit superficial, especially if brands are doing it simply as a PR exercise and not because they truly believe in creating an environment that cultivates LGBTQ+ potential. 

Changing a logo is merely cosmetic. Impact comes from brands establishing LGBTQ+ policies that foster acceptance, belonging and empowerment.

In Malta specifically, what improvements would you like to see, or are you already working towards yourself, in relation to brands supporting Pride and the LGBTQ+ movement? 

I would like to see more big companies supporting Diversity Networks in their workplaces, and perhaps the physical presence of an LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce in Malta. 

We also lack queer spaces or services that can foster entrepreneurship and motivation amongst youth. 

I hope we can start rolling out a census that captures LGBTQ+ figures to help us better understand our current situation and consequently be able to encourage brands to be more LGBTQ+ specific.

I believe Malta has the potential to be a very attractive destination for LGBTQ+ people from all over the world to visit, work and live in. However, I think there is a lack of political will to work towards this until figures start to show how much of a benefit this would be for the entire nation. Which is why I hope more and more brands would be willing to help us make this happen. 


Speaking to Clayton helped us think more deeply about the importance of brands supporting the LGBTQ+ community and cause, and not just during Pride month. 

Awareness campaigns and rainbow logos can only get you so far. When we no longer need to rely on stereotypes and segmentation related to sexual orientation or gender identity to market our brands, that’s when our work is done. Storytelling is all human. 

Whether you’re a fully-fledged business or just a proud individual, you can also support Malta Pride during these strange times by donating here