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Jun 1, 2023

Why We Don't Change the Drops Logo for Pride Month

This pride month (and always) Drops is celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community with language lessons in 37 languages, on social media, and here on our blog.

Shortly after I joined Drops, a question was posed: “Should we change our icon to a rainbow for pride?”

My brain automatically went into a split-screen. On one side, I was watching the Slack thread and mentally composing an answer, while on the other I was thinking, “Achso, do I have to be the queer person to weigh in on this?” I was new on the team, and even though I was open about living abroad with my wife and being passionate about DEI initiatives, I didn’t want to come off as too strong or too opinionated, especially in the first days of my new role.

Just as I was starting to type, another team member jumped in and talked through the nuances of performative activism, and we launched discussions of how we build diversity into our language lessons. I realized that I was not only in the right place, but I was instantly inspired by how much thought my team puts into helping people learn a new language.

As a queer person, when my phone explodes into little bursts of color each June I am reminded of how much progress has been made for LGBTQIA+ rights and acceptance, and how much work there is still to be done. There is something to be said about the value of a company honoring these experiences so visibly. When my team discussed what we could be doing not just for pride, but every day—we found ourselves grounded in our mission: improving lives through language. We could change the icon to a rainbow, we said, but what more could we do?

At Drops, we teach useful and accurate words and phrases for every context—whether you’re prepping for a presentation at work, a first date, or your next vacation. We already work hard to include a diverse cast of characters and experiences in our vocabulary games, but realized that one of our strengths is that we can include lessons specifically on LGBTQIA+ vocabulary used for and about queer experiences.

So when we started working on this project, we were all hands on deck. In those first brainstorming sessions, we focused on our values and asked ourselves:

  • What are our intentions for doing this?
  • How can we back our mission with actions?
  • What do we want to accomplish with this project?
  • And—more importantly—what do we not want to do?

The result?

This list isn’t exhaustive of everything we’ve been working on, and certainly not of everything we’re planning on doing beyond pride month, but I’m proud to say that these initiatives embody what Drops does best: focusing on the most useful phrases with a ton of heart.

I had the honor of developing four new lessons in Drops on celebrating pride and queer culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender transitioning. When building these new lessons I was thinking about a trans student studying abroad and navigating his or her healthcare. I’m reminded of my non-binary student who is teaching non-gendered forms of Hebrew to their campers each summer. Of teens in a country or living situation where the politics and media are intolerant of who they are, employees that haven’t had the pleasure to be 100% themselves at work, and couples planning their honeymoon travel. I’m thinking of the beginner language learners that don’t find these words in their A1 textbooks, and of any interaction that I’ve had in German where I needed to refer to meine Frau. I’m thinking of the loved ones and family members of LGBTQ+ people with good hearts that want to know more, and now have those phrases compiled for them to start those conversations.

Most of all, I’m thinking about the joy we’re hoping to give queer people with these terms, whether they’re LGBT or Q or I or any of the As and/or everything the + encompasses. I’m hoping to reach every learner that will feel seen in Drops not just in the new lessons on queer vocabulary, but in everything we teach.

After all, there is nothing more powerful than having the words to confidently describe who you are.

Here are some ways to celebrate Pride with Drops!

  • 📚Learn and share our vocabulary lessons in 35+ languages
  • 🏆 Join the Pride Challenge and earn an exclusive badge
  • 📱 If you are a premium learner on iOS, you can now customize your Drops icon to display your pride year round!

Chelsea Roden (she/they) is the Head of Learning Content at Drops where they develop and curate courses in 50 languages. Previously she worked in educational publishing and taught language and writing courses. They’re currently based in Germany.

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