LGBTQ+ Pride Month: How to Celebrate in the Workplace
Pride Month is one of the biggest events in the LGBTQ+ community. According to the Library of Congress, “The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month is celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan” led by Black and Latina transgender women, Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera .” The event marks the “tipping point” for the Gay and Transgender Liberation Movement. The movement continues to grow, especially in the workplace.
On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination (NPR). This means that it is illegal for employment practices to discriminate against sexual orientation or gender identity. Despite the movement’s growth, however, LGBTQ+ individuals still face issues in the workplace such as barriers to employment and advancement. For example, unemployment for transgender workers is double that of the national average (National LGBTQ Task Force). One way of addressing this injustice is to advocate for the Equality Act, which would ensure protections for all people regardless of orientation or gender identity in housing, employment, healthcare, and public services.
Therefore, it is important for employers to prioritize fostering a culture of inclusion and diversity in the workplace. While celebrating during Pride Month is a great start, here are some ways to show LGBTQ+ employees that you care.
Evaluate Your Diversity & Inclusion Practices
Because LGBTQ+ employees often face more challenges in the workplace, it is vital that your organization reevaluates their Diversity and Inclusion practices. This includes implementing a strict and effective anti-discrimination policy in your organization.
Attend a Local Pride Event
Many large corporations such as Salesforce and Outforce take part in local Pride events each year, attending parades and local gatherings. Participating in public events can generate positive community connections and boost employee morale. With the pandemic, many of these events are being held online this year.
Host an Inclusion Event & Book a LGBTQ+ Speaker
Hiring a speaker to discuss their experiences as an LGBTQ+ individual can be a great way to empower and educate your staff. It is also important to highlight and amplify stories from people of different backgrounds in order to be inclusive of all stories.
Decorate Your Office or Send Gifts to All Staff
Rainbow flags and banners around the office not only make the place look lively, but they also increase employee morale. Representing your company’s stance on Pride and equality can make your workplace feel more welcoming. This demonstrates that your workplace is a safe place for your employees to express their authentic selves. If your organization is working remotely, you can also send gifts such as pride flags or stickers to demonstrate your support for your team.
Encourage LGBTQ+ Leadership Development
Although Diversity and Inclusion efforts can bring positive growth to your organization, it is important to demonstrate support for your staff personally and professionally. This includes stepping up and allowing LGBTQ+ voices to be heard and making space for people of different backgrounds to be in the leadership room. According to LinkedIn Contributor, Samantha McLaren, “The presence of visible LGBTQ+ leadership can also encourage employees to bring their true selves to work, which can have a major impact on engagement. In fact, LGBTQ+ employees are 85% more likely to be out at companies where senior executives are also out.”
While Pride Month is a wonderful time to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, the most important thing you can do in the workplace is to support and actively listen to employees.