Pride month is a time to highlight the LGBTQ community, celebrate how far we’ve come in accepting each other, remember those who came before us in the fight for equality, and look to the future with how far we have to go. It’s more than just rainbows and fun costumes. In fact, there’s been a lot of discussion as of late on how corporations can profit from pride-themed products while failing to support the actual community. This June, help your company do better. Read on for tips on how to celebrate pride at work in a way that is meaningful, sensitive, and impactful.
What better time to broaden initiatives to support LGBTQ employees? Start a committee, recruit new members or create new goals for your committee. Whether it’s adjusting benefits or family leave policy for LGBTQ employees, bringing in sensitivity training, or just addressing a toxic work environment, there’s always more to be done in terms of inclusion and diversity initiatives.
Each week in June you could send out an office-wide newsletter to inform and get your employees involved in pride month. It might include facts about LGBTQ history, local LGBTQ art or small businesses to support, and different LGBTQ organizations. It could also include tips on how to support LGBTQ employees in the workplace.
Members of the LGBTQ community face additional challenges in their daily life that non-LGBTQ folks may be totally unaware of. For one, they’re at an increased risk of mental health issues and suicide. Draw up a list of counselors and services specializing in LGBTQ issues covered under company insurance plans and share it with employees.
Send out an office-wide survey concerning LGBTQ activism. If one of your employees protested for legal recognition of same-sex marriage or donates at a shelter for trans youth, ask their permission, and then celebrate them! You just might inspire an employee to join them in their activism.
This could mean donating directly to an organization, hosting a fundraiser, creating a team to volunteer time together, or even just giving employees a day or afternoon off to volunteer at a place of their choosing. Some companies offer to match employee donations to credible organizations. However your office contributes, it will be more genuine than a dry, corporate “commitment to diversity” statement or a rainbow flag/sticker/pencil/Snapchat filter.
You could attend pride events together, but for many people, pride parades are a place to celebrate and let loose, and not an environment in which anyone wants to worry about remaining professional. Instead, offer employees some time off to attend a pride parade. That might include an option for remote work, a half day, or the whole day off.
Pride month is a great time to recognize and support the LGBTQ community. But true allies won’t stop once June comes to an end. Host a roundtable discussion to get a sense of where your company is failing or succeeding in supporting its LGBTQ members. At best the company will be able to implement policy that better supports it’s LGBTQ members, and at worst it will hopefully spark an ongoing discussion.
Pride month is the perfect opportunity to bring in an expert and train everyone in a code of conduct that better supports the office’s LGBTQ community. You might assume everyone in the office is decent enough to respect each other regardless of sexual orientation, but we all have our implicit biases, and we can’t address the barriers LGBTQ individuals face if we skirt around them. Organizations like The Safe Zone Project even offer free online training tools.