In a colourful turn of events, Microsoft announced a new line-up of Pride-themed products– a first in its history. The products were created with the help of Microsoft employees belonging to LGBTQI+ communities.
Chris Capossela, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Microsoft, said, while selecting the focus for 2021’s Pride, Global LGBTQI+ Employee and Allies at Microsoft (GLEAM) have reflected on the intersectionality of the communities, centering on the stories of Black, Asian, Latinx, and Indigenous LGBTQI+ people. GLEAM has reflected on the spectrum of issues that the community has been facing today and on issues that are salient for LGBTQI+ people– working to protect transgender lives; working towards racial equity; mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on the community; expanding environmental equity; increasing Indigenous visibility, and more.
“LGBTQI+ people at Microsoft believe that true power lies in coming together across communities to create change,” Chris added.
The Global LGBTQI+ Employee and Allies at Microsoft members have worked with various teams to release the most extensive line-up in the company’s history.
Here’s the product line-up launched this Pride month:
Xbox: Supporting the initiative of bringing unity among its LGBTQIA+ gaming community, team Xbox has focused on intersectionality and lifting the community’s voices across the gaming industry.
Starting this month, team Xbox is launching Pride profile themes for console and PC; live streams on Xbox’s Twitch channel; personal stories from Xbox ambassadors and employees; industry spotlights on Xbox Instagram; and games curated by the community.
Xbox games: Team Xbox has introduced livery design in Forza Horizon 4 and Forza Motorshop 7 and MCC Pride nameplate in Halo. Award winning game ‘Tell Me Why’ will be free to play all of June on Xbox consoles, Microsoft Store and Stream.
Xbox Gear: The Xbox Gear shop is celebrating Pride month with collections from Xbox and Halo. It has released limited-edition Pride-themed t-shirts and bags — all of them created by and with the LGBTQIA+ communities.
Microsoft Teams: Microsoft Teams has introduced new virtual backgrounds celebrating Pride.
Skype: The Skype team has introduced virtual backgrounds and ‘Together Mode’-scenes inspired by the various LGBTQI+ communities.
Microsoft 365: Select Microsoft 365 apps now have themes inspired by the flags of the LGBTQI+ community.
Microsoft Edge: Microsoft has added 20 themes inspired by the Pride flag.
PowerPoint premium templates: Microsoft has introduced new PowerPoint templates and images to celebrate Pride month.
Outlook mobile: iOS and Android’s outlook apps have been loaded with themes inspired by the Pride, trans, lesbian, bisexual and nonbinary flags.
Windows: Users will now be able to personalise their devices with Pride wallpapers inspired by retro Windows experiences.
Surface: Microsoft has launched Surface Laptop and Surface Pro skins inspired by Pride.
Give with Bing: Users who have access to Microsoft Rewards can search Bing and support LGBTQI+ youth in crisis by donating to the Trevor Project (an American non-profit organisation focused on suicide prevention among the LGBTQIA+ community).
Bing: Bing users can explore stories of people who have been contributing to the LGBTQI+ equality cause.
Microsoft Store: Microsoft has introduced a collection of games and movies curated by the LGBTQI+ community in the company.
Microsoft News: Microsoft will highlight LGBTQI+ content experiences across 20 markets and in 10 languages.
Starting in 1989, Microsoft was one of the first companies to introduce sexual orientation in its non-discrimination policies. Last year, Microsoft donated over $2 million to organisations supporting the LGBTQI+ community. This year, the company is donating $1,50,000 to non-profits across the globe fighting for the equality of the LGBTQI+ community.
Additionally, Microsoft is hosting a three-hour virtual Pride event on June 24 on its YouTube channel to discuss intersectionality, solidarity and representation with artists and non-profits.