Norah Speaks

Pinkwashing: What Is It?

Pinkwashing: What is it?


Happy Pride Month for those a part of that community. If this month makes you feel safe and happy with expressing your sexuality and/or gender identity, take time to celebrate! For some in this community who are not out, or experiencing discrimination it may be a scary or sad time. I hope you have the support and coping mechanisms you need.

I am working hard to understand more of the experiences of people who identify as LGBTQIA+. There is one topic I discovered through my advocacy for Palestinian rights. That is pinkwashing. I am going to share a little about that topic today!



pinkwashing examples

When an organization or country portrays themselves as “gay-friendly” for a variety of reasons, to appear more liberal. 

In the case of pinkwashing in Israel, to divert attention from more terrible events going on. The oppression and displacement of Palestinians.



A prevalent example for us as consumers is pinkwashing marketing. Products with rainbows, sayings related to pride, etc. They are from pinkwashing companies that do not have people who identify as LGBTQIA+ as members of their staff. Additionally, they are not a primarily LGBTQIA+ organization or an advocate for people in these groups.  

Pinkwashing Examples

The picture below shows an example of a company profiting off of Pride. US Flag Factory sells rainbow flags, but they also sell Confederate flags. Try and buy from people in the LGBTQ+ community, and are advocating for their own and others rights.


Pinkwashing and Breast Cancer


Another well-known example of pinkwashing is with breast cancer. During breast cancer awareness month you will see pink across all stores and restaurants. For me, and so many others, my entire life is breast cancer awareness. I’ve had five family members with breast cancer and am set to get mammograms every six months for the rest of my life, until inevitably get breast cancer too.

Businesses will advertise that money is donated to breast cancer research, but that’s impossible to track.

If you’d like to read more about this marketing scheme, Gayle Sulik, a medical sociologist wrote a book called Pink Ribbon Blues and founded the Breast Cancer Consortium.

In an interview with Vox, she shares that is issue with breast cancer being promoted by businesses is that “While awareness campaigns stimulate interest in breast cancer as a trendy social cause, they do little to promote knowledge about breast cancer. The commercialization of breast cancer has contributed a lighthearted approach to awareness and advocacy that very often centers on fun-filled activities in the name of breast cancer awareness. This trivializes breast cancer and limits our ability to comprehend what it’s really like to face the disease, live with medical uncertainty, and accept the difficult realities of risk, recurrence, treatment, and even death.”

To truly advocate for breast cancer awareness and prevention, support movements and organizations that will allow for early, affordable testing for women of all identities. The Mammovan is a great way to bring testing to women.

The Brem Foundation and George Washington’s Mammovan have a robust, life-saving partnership. The Mammovan is a self-contained mobile mammography unit that brings early-detection technology to community and corporate sites. This gives women who would not otherwise not have access to mammograms the ability to get screened for breast cancer. 

Other Resources

Thank you all for reading! I hope this gave you a good introduction to the issue. HAPPY PRIDE!


Here are some of the sources I used if you want more in depth information:

Pinkwashing Exposed

Queer Marketing in  a Post-Trump America

To learn more about pinkwashing in the LGBTQIA+ community, check out my Disclosure Media Guide and LGBTQIA+ dictionary.


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