Skip to content
Skyler EspinozaJune 20, 2024 at 12:47 PM7 min read

8 Steps to Authentic Allyship During Pride Month and Beyond

8 Steps to Authentic Allyship During Pride Month and Beyond


As a leader in social justice, Parity athlete Joanna Lohman partners with organizations around the world to advocate for inclusivity, equality, and gender equity. As a proud member of the LGBTQ community she has been a featured speaker sharing her own personal story of being an out and proud professional athlete. Working alongside groups like the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, and SMYAL and as an ambassador for the Women's Sports Foundation, DC SCORES, and Athlete Ally, Joanna strives to create opportunities for every individual to play sports and thrive as their authentic self. As a Sports Diplomat with the Department of State, Joanna has traveled the world focusing on racial justice and building bridges between cultures.


Happy Pride Month!


June is widely recognized as the month during which we celebrate the LGBTQ+ community in all its power and diversity. It’s also the month in which many companies and brands signal their support to the LGBTQ+ community. While some do it well, many have come under fire for empty allyship that doesn’t go beyond “rainbow washing”: the practice of slapping a rainbow filter over a logo, but doing little else to meaningfully honor Pride Month.

While there have been so many incredible leaps forward for the queer community in sport, there are still barriers that prevent members of our sporting community from living their true and authentic lives. LA Sparks’ head Coach Curt Miller recently spoke out about how he remains the only out gay male coach at either the collegiate or professional level of basketball in the U.S. Trans athletes are still fighting for their basic human rights, and their right to participate in sport at all levels. Homophobia and transphobia are rampant across all sports and leagues, from fans to coaches to players to parents.



Being a vocal ally of the queer community is not only good business, but it’s still very much needed to make sure your clients, your audience and your partners feel safe and welcomed by you as a brand. 



Here are 8 steps you can take as a brand to meaningfully move the needle during Pride Month in the sporting community, and make sure your clients and your audience see you as a true ally. 


1. Pride: It’s not just for June anymore

Whether it’s in a report or a social media post, make sure to show your followers and clients that your commitment to LGBTQ+ issues isn’t just for a Pride Month sticker! If you want to be a true ally to the community, remember your actions speak louder than your words, and consistent actions are what will make true changes. Develop a strategy with your team that has year round goals and action items.


Will you highlight a queer athlete 1x per month? Share 1 post per week about a social justice issue that affects the LGBTQ+ community? June is the perfect time to highlight these actions, but it’s not the time to make promises that you won’t keep up. 


2. Want to plan your own party?

Whatever initiative you plan for Pride Month, whether you want to give money to an organization making changes, or run an educational event in your office, make sure you are including and listening to voices from the queer community in your planning. This being said, sometimes queer people can feel singled out during Pride, and may or may not be interested in serving at the head of your Pride Parade Party Planning Committee. Make sure to make space, but not put the burden of Pride on your queer employees or partners. An ask could look like, “We are creating a team to organize our Pride events. Centering your voice is important to us. How, if at all, would you like to be involved?” 


3. Put that money where your mouth is

One of the best ways to show that you are serious about your allyship is to put your money on the line.



Will you sell a special Pride product with proceeds going towards supporting the queer community? Will you donate a portion of your proceeds all year? Will you host an event with proceeds going towards an organization that does work in the LGBTQ+ space?



Check out the list at the bottom for some of our favorite orgs to donate to, or do research to donate more locally! With local or smaller organizations, it is always a good idea to ask before holding an event in their name. Let them guide you towards the type of support they most need, and you might even end up with a long term partnership!


4. Y’all means All

Pride Month is a time to celebrate all of the members of the queer community. LGBTQIA is an ever evolving acronym that stands for: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexul, Transgender, Intersex, Queer/questioning, Asexual. As you are looking for organizations to donate to, or facts to share, make sure that you are recognizing the whole breadth of the queer community. For instance, advocating for youth with various sexual orientations also means advocating for youth with different gender identities. If you are looking for more detailed information on how to support the queer people in your community, PFLAG is a great place to start.    


343410576_180925528212454_2000557693417841901_n (1)Parity athlete Nikki Hiltz has been actively making running more inclusive for LGBTQ+ individuals by organizing the Pride 5k, which raises funds for The Trevor Project and creates a safe space for LGBTQ+ participants. Hiltz, who publicly came out as transgender and non-binary, continues to compete while advocating for greater inclusivity and visibility in the sporting world.

5. School is in Session

If you aren’t in a place to donate or contribute financially this month, take the opportunity to educate your employees, clients and yourself(!) about LGBTQ+ history and realities. Maybe you hold a Pride Month Trivia Night, maybe you host a movie night, or maybe you share facts and stories across your social media. Helping to share the stories and histories of the queer community will help your audience understand the need for Pride in the first place! 


6. They’ll find out who your friends are

If you are a brand that works with athletes and Pride is important to you, you need to align yourself with athletes who are queer themselves or are allies.



Putting your brand on the chest of people or companies who do not support the queer community is the first way to lose all credibility.



If you’re looking for companies, the Human Rights Campaign has a Corporate Equality Index that measures corporate allyship, and if you’re looking for allied athletes, often social media is a good place to start.  


7. The Power of the People

In the US in 2024 alone, there have been 597 anti-trans bills introduced in 43/50 states. Bills redefining sex and gender and redraw identity, bills that attack reproductive access and enforce curriculum changes all disproportionately affect the queer community. You can track the legislation across the country here, and be informed about laws coming in your state. You might not think that sports and politics go together, but there have been many powerful examples of sports stars changing history. Check out this documentary coming to Prime on June 18th of how WNBA stars changed a senate race in 2020.  


8. Mark your calendars

Although Pride Month is the most visible time to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, there are many other days and weeks to recognize and celebrate throughout the year. Acknowledging these events through social media or other marketing will mean you are paying more than June lip service, and will make specific people within the queer community feel seen and heard. 



About Parity
Minority-founded in 2020, Parity's mission is to close the gender income and opportunity gap in professional sports. By developing high-impact collaborations between brands, professional women athletes and their fans, Parity has proudly put more than $3.5 million in the pockets of women athletes, attracting dozens of brands to the movement in the process. The platform offers connections to more than 1000 women athletes from 80+ sports, including well over 200 Olympians and Paralympians. For more information on how to tap into the rapidly rising influence and popularity of women athletes, visit or follow us on InstagramLinkedInFacebookX (formerly Twitter) and Threads




Skyler Espinoza

Skyler was a DI rower and coach at Columbia and Stanford Universities, and now is a Team USA athlete as a guide for a visually impaired cyclist. She is a world championships medallist, and a 2x Parapan American champion. You can read her blog about women in sports at, and follow her on Instagram @skyler.espinozaa.