How Pride Month got its start
LGBTQ+ Pride Month is celebrated in June to commemorate the riots that took place in New York City following a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village gay bar, on June 28, 1969.
This riot spurred action across the country and numerous LGBTQ+ organizations were formed across the U.S.
General Mills’ history of Pride and LGBTQ+ inclusion dates to the early 1990s.
Originally, a group of employees met off-campus, which is what sparked the creation of Betty’s Family Network, our LGBTQ+ employee network. Mark Addicks, one of the original members and an executive sponsor for Betty’s Family, was the first openly gay officer at General Mills in 1995. He is responsible for many of the traditions that still exist today.
The first official employee network at General Mills, the Black Champions Network, was created in 1996 and paved the way for Betty’s Family to be recognized. Today, we have seven employee networks that celebrate and champion inclusivity every day.
Supporting equal protection
As an advocate for equal protection under the law, General Mills supported legislation in the U.S. to extend protection to everyone in the LGBTQ+ community.
General Mills is the only company that has publicly testified twice before Congress in support of this legislation, once in 2007 and again in 2012, and we continue our visible leadership as a member of the Business Coalition for the Equality Act and as a member of the Business Statement on Anti-LGBTQ Legislation.
In 2012, General Mills was the largest company to publicly oppose a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality in our home state of Minnesota. Our CEO at the time, Ken Powell, announced the position to a full auditorium of General Mills employees and guests. Our support came at a crucial time and helped lead to marriage equality here.
General Mills also publicly supported marriage equality when the question came before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 and their decision made it a national law.
In 2021, General Mills launched LGBTQ+ Self-ID for North America employees, joining 112 of our Fortune 500 peers.
Employees can now voluntarily and confidentially identify their sexual orientation and gender identity. They can also choose to share their pronouns on their internal employee profile.
This information is an important part of advancing inclusion, equity and belonging for diverse and underrepresented employees. Both LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ employees are encouraged to Self-ID to get holistic data to support our diverse communities.
Beginning in 2000, General Mills participated in Pride Parades across the nation, starting with the Twin Cities Pride parade here in our hometown.
In 2010, we hosted our first Pride reception for the LGBTQ+ community, sponsored by Betty’s Family and Twin Cities Quorum, Minnesota's LGBTQ+ and Allied Chamber of Commerce.
On June 17, 2019, Betty’s Family partnered with the Veterans Network for a Pride Flag ceremony at our World Headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
It was a historic moment as General Mills was among the first companies in Minnesota to fly the rainbow flag at their headquarters.
In 2020 when the pandemic hit, the company shifted the Pride Flag ceremony to a socially distanced car parade where employees drove past the flag to see it waving proudly.
Brands share their Pride
Advertisements and partnerships from our brands also offer a powerful focus on inclusion.
The Families Project, created by Betty Crocker focused on celebrating and supporting all families no matter their composition.
In 2013, Betty Crocker provided wedding cakes to the first three same-sex couples who were married in Minnesota on August 1, the day Minnesota legalized same-sex marriage. The cakes were donated as part of The Families Project and were baked by Terri Leckas, who owns Queen of Cakes in Edina, Minnesota.
Lucky Charms’ #LuckyToBe Campaigns in 2013 and 2014 celebrated individuality, diversity, and inclusiveness. Lucky Charms encouraged cereal fans to share why they were #LuckyToBe.
In 2014, a series of commercials of the “The Cheerios Effect” celebrated stories of love and connection in Canada. One of the commercials featured Andre and Johnathan, two dads with their daughter, Raphaelle.
And in 2015, Greg Louganis, an openly gay and HIV-positive athlete, was featured on the Wheaties box. Louganis won gold medals in both springboard and platform diving in 1984 and 1988.
All are welcome at our table
Our support and allyship for our LGBTQ+ employees and the broader community are grounded in our culture of learning, growing and belonging.
Our commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace and community has earned us a perfect 100 score in the Human Right Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index for 16 years, designating us as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality.”
At General Mills, all are welcome at our table.