50 Years of PRIDE: Celebrating the LGBTQ+ Community on a Global Scale

June 2020 marked the 50th anniversary of Pride Month, but many celebrations looked and felt different this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and heightened awareness of police brutality and racial injustice. Hundreds of celebrations were cancelled or postponed, and many program organizers pivoted their efforts to utilize virtual platforms.

While the current health crisis and political climate are certainly important, the LGBTQ+ community should not be overlooked. At General Motors, we proudly celebrated equality and inclusion by raising the PRIDE flag at all of our North American facilities, and at many others across the globe.

The video below showcases the symbolic PRIDE flags, the power of unity that’s represented, and the continued focus of building an inclusive culture across the nation. 

Our Commitment to the LGBTQ+ Community

GM is committed to building a global culture of diversity and inclusion and has been a longtime supporter of LGBTQ+ equality in the workplace.

  • We were the first automaker to run an LGTBQ-specific ad.
  • For more than a decade, we offered same-sex domestic partner benefits, and we extended same-sex spousal benefits to married LGBTQ couples in 2015.
  • In 2015, GM PLUS launched a mentor program for LGTBQ and ally employees in order to provide rising talent with targeted support for achieving individual and professional development goals.
  • GM Canada was named a Top Diversity Employer in 2017 and 2018.

While we are proud of these accolades and awards, we understand that they mean nothing without progress. We will continue to fight for LGBTQ+ rights to ensure the community feels seen and heard, always.

Did You Know?

Many Indigenous cultures use the term two-spirit to refer to those within the LGBTQ+, or LGBTQ2S community. This was first proposed at the Intertribal Native American, First Nations, Gay and Lesbian American Conference in 1990 by activist Albert McLeod. Although awareness and acceptance of two-spirit people is growing – both within and outside Indigenous communities – many two-spirited people continue to experience sexual and gender discrimination and violence. It is important for all people to recognize and support the LGBTQ2S community as we celebrate our pride.

PRIDE flags have been a symbol for the LGBTQ+ community since 1977 when icon Harvey Milk challenged Gilbert Baker, a US military veteran who taught himself to sew, to create a flag. His original creation included eight colors, each holding significant meaning:

Throughout the years, the PRIDE flag has gone through different versions, sometimes changing based on fabric availability, or to provide support to other underrepresented communities.

The Bisexual Pride Flag, designed by Michael Page in 1998, consists of three horizontal stripes: A pink stripe located at the top for those attracted to those of the same sex/gender, a blue stripe located at the bottom for those attracted to those of a different sex/gender, and a purple stripe located in the middle for those attracted to individuals across the gender spectrum.

The Transgender Pride Flag, designed by Monica Helms in 1999, consists of five horizontal stripes that are meant to represent those who have transitioned or are in the process of transitioning. Light blue stripes located at the top and bottom represent the traditional colour for boys. The light pink stripes next to them represent the traditional colour for girls. The white stripe located in the middle is meant to represent those who are transitioning or have a neutral or undefined gender.