Our unwavering support for Pride Month celebrations and the LGBTQIA2+ community

At Starbucks, we have a rich history of advocacy and support for our LGBTQIA2+ partners and customers. We’ve worked for more than 40-years to create a welcoming environment for the LGBTQIA2+ community through inclusive policies, industry leading same-sex and gender affirming care benefits, advocacy efforts and support for community causes.

Unfortunately, Workers United continues to knowingly, and recklessly, spread false information related to our inclusive culture and benefits — actions that risk marginalizing and instilling distrust among our LGBTQIA2+ partners and customers. 

To be clear: There has been no change to company policies or corporate new guidance issued to store leaders regarding Pride Month celebrations. We continue to encourage our store leaders to celebrate the diversity of our partners and customers within their communities, including for Pride Month.

Our store leaders are each empowered to decorate their stores for heritage months, including Pride Month, within the framework of our established store safety guidelines.

Partners in all U.S. company-owned stores are encouraged to work with their local leaders to find ways to authentically celebrate the diversity of the communities we call home within the framework of our established operational standards, Siren’s Eye appearance guidelines and partner dress code policy. 

Throughout Pride Month, customers across the country are able to see the many ways our more than 9,300 U.S. company-owned stores have chosen to celebrate and uplift the LGBTQIA2+ community and can buy our full range of custom Pride merchandise, designed in collaboration with an LGBTQIA2+ artist.

Showing our Pride

A legacy of support

For Starbucks, Pride Month is just one of the many ways we support and celebrate our LGBTQIA2+ partners and the community. For more than four decades, we’ve relied on our own partners to inform the commitments and actions we take as a company.

Through our partners’ voices and experiences:

  • 1988: Starbucks extends full health benefits to eligible full- and part-time partners, including coverage for same-sex domestic partnerships.
  • 1991: Starbucks creates a new health care policy for partners with terminal illnesses to bridge the gap between the time they can no longer work and when they become eligible for government insurance. The policy was inspired by a longtime partner who found they were unable to work due to the advanced stages of AIDS.
  • 1996: Starbucks partners first meet to create what will eventually become the Starbucks Pride Partner Network.
  • 2007: Starbucks issues Workplace Gender Transition Guidelines to support partners who are transgender or considering transitioning to promote understanding of fair and equitable treatment of transgender and gender-diverse partners.
  • 2013: Starbucks supports transgender partners by adding coverage of gender reassignment surgery to the company’s health benefits.
  • 2015: Starbucks updates its technology systems to ensure that documentation in stores reflect a partner’s “known as” name or nickname that is consistent with their gender identity or expression. 
  • 2018: Starbucks broadens its health insurance options for transgender partners through a partnership with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) to include a host of procedures that were previously considered cosmetic, such as breast reduction or augmentation surgery, facial feminization, hair transplants and more.
  • 2019: Starbucks expands family expansion benefits to better support same-gender couples looking to become parents.

Looking forward, we will continue to use our voice to advocate for greater understanding on the importance of inclusion and diversity across the communities we serve around the world.

Responding to Workers United

In response to false claims made by Workers United regarding our longstanding commitments to the LGBTQIA2+ community — including our consistent guidance empowering stores to decorate for Pride Month and our comprehensive gender-affirming care benefits — Starbucks vp of partner resources May Jensen sent a letter, dated June 14, 2023, to Workers United president Lynne Fox demanding the union cease from knowingly misleading partners.

“I am writing to express my deep and urgent concern about the blatant fear mongering campaign launched recently by Workers United, especially the knowingly and recklessly false statements that Starbucks corporate had “banned” PRIDE related décor in all stores. NOTHING could be further from the truth. It is disgraceful that Workers United would take a month of celebration, reflection, self-esteem, self-worth, and yes – PRIDE – that means so much to so many of our 235,000 partners across the country, and use it to fear monger and sow division and hate…”

“…It is willfully and recklessly false to claim that Starbucks is anything other than a fully supportive ally of this community that makes up a significant part of our workforce. This is shameful behavior and I’m calling on you to demand that Workers United representatives cease this false, harmful, and despicable narrative. We can have many different points of view about unions, but we should ALL have the same vision for how all people, including LGBTQIA2+ people, should be treated – with respect, support and allyship. Using this month of recognition and pride as a means to sow division in an attempt to gin up union support is none of those things.”

May Jensen, Starbucks vp of partner resources

As part of our ongoing commitment to communicate openly and transparently with our partners, we’re sharing our full correspondence with Workers United President Lynne Fox below.

Read more

Addressing misinformation: Access to gender-affirming care for all partners

Read more about our longstanding commitment to provide all partners enrolled in a Starbucks health plan access to gender-affirming care.