LGBTQ+ History Is Our History

Remembering to Take a Look Back, and Continuing to Forge Our Way Ahead

OLA Donation

The story of LGBTQ+ History is often characterized by the struggle for LGBTQ+ Equality. Though we know the path toward progress can often include missteps, or even steps backward, it’s important to acknowledge the steps we take in victory.

That’s why during this year’s LGBTQ+ History Month, P&G honors the legacy of the fiercely courageous, brilliant and resilient leaders of this community that have inspired monumental changes within our company and engendered a greater sense of beauty and equity throughout the world.

As we reflect on the 30-year anniversary of the change to our corporate diversity statement to include sexual orientation and on the chronology of milestones we’ve reached in support of our LGBTQ+ employees and consumers, we understand that we’re part of a larger history.



Sexual Orientation is added into the P&G Equal Employment Opportunity Statement.

Newspaper clipping that reads, “P&G adds sexual orientation to bias policy”

At P&G, support for our employees has been at the center of our commitment to uniquely seeing the communities we serve and to uniquely serving the communities we see. When it comes to our support for our LGBTQ+ colleagues, this tradition can be formerly traced to 1992, when a small group of employees lobbied P&G executives to advocate that gay and lesbian protections be included in our company’s Equal Employment Opportunity Policy, that LGBTQ+ issues be included in corporate diversity trainings and that domestic partner benefits be extended to same-gender-loving (SGL) employees.

But even before then, it was employee Michael Chanak who began engaging our company in the conversation around our responsibility to the LGBTQ+ community during the AIDS epidemic in the mid 1980’s. As profiled in our documentary “The Words Matter,” Chanak inspired us to give voice to a community often silenced and maligned in mainstream media at a time when our mouthwash brand Peridex was prescribed to treat thrush in people suffering from HIV/AIDS. It was then that we began to consider how we could serve our internal community of LGBTQ+ colleagues and continue to make good on the commitment we pledged to our loyal consumers.

Just as important as the commitment we pledge in support of the LGBTQ+ community as a corporation is the commitment we pledge to the LGBTQ+ inclusion, equality and visibility of our brands. P&G’s “Love Over Bias” campaign – launched at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in hope of bringing people together to openly and honestly engage conversations about the biases that limit human potential – has helped us to see beyond the things that divide us and to center our focus on the things that draw us more closely together. This campaign was instrumental in Head & Shoulders’ “Shoulders of Greatness” ad, featuring U.S. Olympic Freestyle Skier Gus Kenworthy, the first openly gay action sports athlete. The ad was the first national TV advertisement to feature the rainbow pride flag.

P&G’s first official LGBTQ+ employee group – Gay, Ally, Bisexual, Lesbian Employees group (GABLE) – was established in 1994 and has played an integral role throughout our history of driving LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion inside and outside of the company. We strongly believe that our employees’ freedom to come to work as their authentic selves stimulates an environment that encourages allyship and inspires the sort of diverse insights that help us drive value creation across our many business pillars. When GABLE celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2019, it boasted 5,000 members in 42 countries, spanning six continents. And continues to grow!

GABLE Group Shot

As one of the world’s largest advertisers, P&G also understands its responsibility to promote LGBTQ+ visibility, equality and inclusion on screens and stages that reach global audiences. Those efforts can be traced as far back as the New Era, when prominent advertising illustrator J.C Leyendecker, whose work coded gay images in popular media like magazine covers and television commercials during the first half of the 20-th century, created secretly subversive ads for our brands like Ivory soap. Nearly lost, his legacy is survived by his work and by our film “Coded,” which brings his powerful story to life.


And that legacy continues with the launch of our first ad featuring a same-sex couple – Downy’s Wrinkle Releaser in Canada in 2000 – and Can’t Cancel Pride, our continued benefit concert in partnership with iHeart Radio. The concert raises funds for the LGBQT+ community’s most vulnerable populations and celebrates visibility and inclusion for all. Since its inception in 2019, Can’t Cancel Pride has raised more than $12 million and garnered a viewership of more than 16 million people in 2022.

Downy First LGBTQ ad

In further observance of this year’s LGBTQ History Month, we are entrusting relevant archives pertaining to these monumental milestones and many others to Ohio Lesbian Archives (OLA), a Cincinnati-based non-profit established in 1982. Located in the basement office of Clifton United Methodist Church, OLA is one of only a handful of lesbian archives in the country. In addition, we are also donating $5,000 that will be used to sustain the charities’ work this year.


PinkNews Awards

International Recognition

Our P&G UK & Ireland team was recently awarded Business Equality Organisation of the Year at the 2022 Pink News Awards for our commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion.

“In my role as co-lead of our GABLE affinity network for LGBTQ+ employees and allies with Mikaella Christodoulidi (she/her) and under the guidance of our lead team sponsor Boaz Uittenbogaard, I'm proud to drive for positive change for the LGBTQ+ community for my colleagues, through our brands, with our partners and in our wider communities,” said Liam Sergeant, Senior Company Communications Manager.

PinkNews is the world’s largest LGBTQ+ media brand, reaching a global audience of more than 60 million unique users per month across its website, socials and app. The annual PinkNews Awards aims to recognise the incredible contributions of those who campaign for LGBTQ+ equality worldwide, whilst celebrating moments of unprecedented LGBTQ+ achievement. Each year, the community comes together to highlight the work of businesses, organisations and individuals across the globe.

Nominees for the Business Equality Award included Channel 4, Virgin Media O2, Latham & Watkins, Procter and Gamble, and Gilead Sciences and we’re delighted to have been selected as the winners.

To learn more about how we are honoring LGBTQ+ history and the ways in which we are championing LGBTQ+ visibility, equality and inclusion to help extend our legacy of being a force for good and a force for growth, visit https://us.pg.com/lgbtq-visibility/.