June is LGBTQ+ Pride month and as we celebrate Pride and support LGBTQ+ employees all month long, it’s important to make sure that your support is ongoing and you continue your journey throughout the year. Your support should not be a “one and done” approach.
The LGBTQ+ community is intersectional. They are different races, different genders, have different abilities, are veterans, are parents, etc. They face more microaggressions than White cisgender people. Keep this in mind to support all employees and create a work environment where individuals are comfortable showing up as their true, authentic selves. Here are some ways employers can celebrate, activate and become an ally to support the LGBTQ+ community.
Things employers should keep in mind:
- Engagement in LGBTQ+ Pride should go beyond once a year social media posts. If this is all your company is doing, it can be seen as performative.
- Pride Month is a time of celebration but not everyone wants to share their identity or expression with you. Lead conversations, share company support, but be respectful if others don’t want to share anything personal.
- Acknowledge that it is a tumultuous time. It's been a little over two years since George Floyd, we are experiencing frequent mass shootings and acts of violence against diverse groups and states are implementing anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that is rolling back equality.
- Show your employees that what’s important to them is also important to you.
- Be honest and transparent if there’s work to be done. If all you’re doing is once a year social media posts, make a commitment to do more (and then do it!)
- HRC’s Corporate Equality Index announced new criteria for their 2023 survey. Now’s the time to review these criteria and use their toolkit to make improvements in your own workplace.
- Make celebrating Pride more than just rainbow themed merch, apparel and posts. Pride is about advocacy, allyship and creating awareness for the LGBTQ+ community. It’s one point of time in your ongoing focus on inclusion.
How to best approach this month as an employer:
- Don’t try to come up with something without thoughtful planning.
- Admit you have work to do. Invite others to join a committee with focus on LGBTQ+ inclusion. Consider a commitment to make it more of a focus for the year ahead. Invite employees to join and provide feedback on how to best direct efforts and next year you can celebrate your accomplishments! If no employees offer to participate, it’s time to engage an expert. You have work to do.
- Take time this month to review the inclusiveness of your own policies and programs. Is the language inclusive? Are your benefits available to same sex and different sex spouses and domestic partners? Is there parity in your benefit offerings?
- Create a volunteering opportunity with a local LGBTQ+ organization, make a company donation or match employee donations.
- Share resources, educate leadership, provide tips on how to celebrate, and communicate your company’s support for LGBTQ+.
- Activate Allyship. Stand up for the LGBTQ+ community.
- Advocate. Speak out against LGBTQ+ hate and anti LGBTQ+ legislation and laws. Companies are afraid to stand up due to polarized political views but staying quiet is not allyship. Consider joining an HRC coalition that advocates on behalf of companies.
How employers can show support to people that identify as LGBTQ+:
- “Nothing about us without us” is a statement that applies to all diverse segments. Include your LGBTQ+ employees in planning and policy updates.
- Donate to organizations like The Trevor Project, that provides 24/7 confidential suicide prevention and crisis intervention services for LGBTQ+ young people experiencing depression, anxiety, or stress.
- Sponsor or volunteer at local Pride events in your community.
- Sponsor your own internal Pride events or partner with your employee/business resource group.
- If you don’t have a resource group, share messages of support to your employees. Consider allowing them to take off to volunteer. Ask teams how they plan to celebrate Pride. Make sure you give people space to share or NOT share, as comfort levels differ within the LGBTQ+ community depending upon how safe they may feel.
Have fun! Pride is about celebrating the LGBTQ+ community and Pride activities are great fun, so show your Pride, get out there and celebrate! But, be mindful. The history of Pride is also about activism. Be sure to educate yourself and others about what Pride means.
For all: Glossary of terms
For a more complete list of resources: GLAAD’s Resource List
For advocacy: Human Rights Campaign, National LGBTQ Taskforce
For youth & students: Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Point Foundation
For youth & mental health: The Trevor Project
For parents: Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
For military: American Military Partner Association (AMDA)
For allies: We are All Allies, Black LGBT Allies