The ‘Trans Rights are Human Rights’ campaign includes a limited-edition bath melt to benefit LGBTQ charities
Well this is Lush.
U.K.-founded international cosmetics chain Lush has just launched a new campaign to highlight discrimination faced by transgender and non-binary individuals and raise money for charities that work with those communities. The “Trans Rights are Human Rights” initiative will involve all 250 Lush boutiques in the United States and Canada, and stores will be decked out with colorful branding featuring quotes from trans employees about their lives, such as “This is my identity, not a trend.”
For the campaign, Lush, which has a reputation for being LGBTQ friendly, trained all 5,000 of its North American employees on interacting with transgender people in a sensitive fashion— using preferred pronouns when asked to, for instance — and carrying out conversations about gender identity both in the workplace and with customers on the shopfloor, if they’d like. Customers can also pick up a complimentary pamphlet on transgender identities and purchase a limited edition bath melt, proceeds of which will be donated to two charities that the privately held firm works with. It has also created relevant images and videos to be disseminated on social media.
“We’re really excited. In 2018, we’re seeing media and culture exposure for trans and non-binary people,” Carleen Pickard, ethical campaign specialist at Lush, tells Moneyish. “At the same time in the U.S., we’re seeing that a lot of rights that trans folks have gained under attack. It’s a fine time to stand as a company and support not only our [transgender] co-workers, but also the community.”
Lush is no stranger to public advocacy: it previously worked with causes like the Palestinian liberation movement and gay rights charities. As with most of its campaigns, its employees were asked to suggest causes important to them. “Our staff think that we as a business should speak out on this issue,” Pickard says. “It’s an organic process hearing from our staff, which is a solid representation of folks across North America.” Lush doesn’t keep track of how many openly transgender or non-binary people it employs, but about 0.6% of the American population, or 1.4 million adults, is estimated to identify as trans.
Enter the Queer Cafe at the 2018 #LushSummit, a space that's dedicated to furthering the rights of LGBTQ2+ people around the globe! Here, Summit attendees can meet the campaigners striving to make a difference, grab a pronoun pin and look at the unique interactive displays that convey important messages. ❤️❤️❤️
The two groups Lush is partnering with are the D.C.-based National Center for Transgender Equality and the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity. The beauty retailer hopes to raise a total of $450,000 across the 14-day campaign. A company spokeswoman says figures for how much the campaign cost aren’t readily available, but “we typically don’t see an increase in sales when doing these types of campaigns and we are okay with that because we think the cause is more important.”
“We’ve been consulted all the way [for the campaign] but they’ve done a lot of learning on their own…we haven’t been as helpful as I thought we’d be,” says Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, which has worked with companies like Barneys New York. She points out that on its own initiative, Lush has been pushing the malls it rents from to ensure adequate bathroom access for transgender people. “This is by far the most comprehensive public-facing campaign I know about.”
Companies do take on some risk when advocating transgender rights. For instance, Target became the target of a boycott after it publicly welcomed customers and clients to use whatever bathroom fit with their gender identity. But Lush is no stranger to controversy: its Palestinian rights advocacy led some to brand it as anti-Israel, and it’s donated millions of dollars to far-left groups.
“When we take a stand, we’re aware that not all customers have the same opinion,” says Pickard. “But we can’t stand by when we know our co-workers are facing discrimination.”
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