Sexuality and Gender

How I Respond to Pride Month

Author Alan Shlemon Published on 06/11/2024

June is when many companies celebrate “Pride Month.” I’m often asked how I respond to stores that celebrate and/or promote homosexuality and transgenderism. Since I routinely navigate these situations, I’m happy to share my approach. Here’s what I do.

I ignore it. Perhaps that isn’t a popular answer. My advice, though, is that when you can, just ignore the flags, bling, and other LBGTQ promotion that you come across. There’s no need to create unnecessary tension, make a scene, or start an argument. If you go to a coffee shop that has Pride displays, just get your coffee and move on. It’s that easy. No stress. Just go in, do your business, and go out. I realize some people might not find that approach satisfying. If that’s you, and you want to take it up a notch, here’s the next level of response.

Don’t patronize the store, restaurant, or coffee shop. It’s possible there’s messaging, display, or behavior that is more aggressive or obnoxious than the usual rainbow flags and Pride Month messaging. I haven’t run across that, but I acknowledge that it probably exists. If you’re bothered by what you see or hear, then don’t spend your money there. Find an alternative store, and spend your money there.

My response, so far, addresses passive situations where you simply come across other people or organizations celebrating Pride Month. What about situations where you are asked to participate (e.g. school, work, etc.) in Pride Month? Here are three levels of responses based on the aggressiveness of the request.

First, I would decline to participate. If I were asked to show support for “Pride,” homosexuality, or transgender ideology, I would politely decline. I would say, “Would you mind asking someone else to do that?” or, “I don’t think I would be the best person for the job.”

Second, if they insist that I participate, my response would be more direct and reveal my reasoning. For example, I would say, “I don’t want to participate in something that violates my conscience. Can I be excused from this?” or ask, “Why do I have to adopt your politics to work here?” I realize that it’s possible you could get in trouble for refusing to participate, but I’ve also heard of many instances in which an employee or student declined to participate and their request was granted without any repercussions.

Third, if the employer or school threatens you with disciplinary action, then the situation is more serious. I would consider either appealing your case to a higher level of leadership, incurring the consequences, or taking legal action. It all depends on the circumstances. How you proceed will be contingent on the nature of your work, the significance of your employment, the risks involved, and your comfort level with pursing legal action.

We can pray the situation never gets that dire, but we also need to prepare to navigate the world in which we live with wisdom. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were asked to give their allegiance to a false god. Because it violated their conscience and they knew it to be wrong, they rightly refused to participate even though they faced dire repercussions. Their courage and commitment to their faith is a model for us. This world is not our home (Heb. 13:14), so we shouldn’t expect that secular companies, secular schools, and the secular media are going to side with us. Our focus should be on faithfulness to God and not friendship with the world.