This weekend, Mark Zuckerberg led over 700 Facebook employees (about 15% of the staff) in the San Francisco Pride parade. Wow, Zuckerberg, I didn’t know you had it in you!
Facebook gave t-shirts to all of the 700 employees who marched, a huge increase from 2011, the first year the company participated with about 70 employees and a “broken down stereo,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
It looks like Facebook’s participation might be part of a healthy competition with Google, which had 1,400 employees march in the parade. While I think it’s kind of weird that tech giants are competing to see who can be most gay-friendly, it’s certainly not a bad thing, especially since it’s reportedly trickling-down to both their hiring practices and their products themselves. Facebook had a rainbow banner on their Menlo Park campus last week and if you type “gay” into Google, a rainbow box appears around the search box.
I’m happy to hear about these companies publicly showing their support for the rights and liberties of LGBT people. While I can see how some people might take offense a group of employees marching in a parade with a political slant, citing that it brings politics into the workplace, I think it’s safe to assume that participation was optional.
I think leading the march, situating himself as a very powerful heterosexual man willing to go out in the streets to champion LGBT causes, is a really cool thing for Zuckerberg to do. I’m not at all a fan of the dude, so when he does something cool, I have to think it’s really extra cool.
This qualifies as extra cool for me for several reasons. Facebook is one of the most important companies in the world right now, and to have a public display of support coming from the company, led by the founder, is huge. it also makes it clear that Facebook is a safe place for LGBT people and their allies to work.
Hopefully, in time, outright support for LGBT causes won’t be considered political; It will just be part of being a caring, openminded human being.