It’s June, which means Summer is imminent and Pride Month is already in full swing! How are you celebrating Pride at work? Start by examining your industry, and determining if there’s an organic way to showcase your LGBTQ(I) pride– perhaps showcasing authors from that community or volunteering together. It’s not quite so evident for all businesses; for instance, plumbing companies or temporary staffing agencies might not have quite as obvious material to work with. But whoever you are and whatever your business, there is something you can do to show your support!
How is Pride Month typically celebrated?
Pride Month was born from a traumatic history, and it’s important to remember that. June was selected to commemorate the Stonewall Riot of New York in 1969, a catalyst for LGBTQ(I) political activism.
After this horrific attack, this tradition began as small celebrations in communities around the country and world. These celebrations consisted of folks paying homage to those who had been killed, injured, and hurt because of their sexuality/sexual orientations. Since the 60s, it has grown exponentially and is now one of the largest and most extravagant celebrations of the community. To remain respectful and recognize the gravity of the community’s struggles, it’s important to remember the roots when planning your work’s pride celebration.
It’s great to have allies in your workplace, but ideally you should have employees who identify as part of the LGBTQ(I) community lead the festivities. If no LGBTQ(I) infrastructure currently exists in your business, there’s always an option to send out an open call to curate folks who might be part of the community and might be interested in leading pride month at your place of work. Not an option? Here are a few ways you can still participate in celebrating pride at work:
1 Revisit your workplace policies and encourage everyone to participate (anonymously if they so choose)
Probably the most publicized policy to visit is regarding bathroom regulations. Do you have gender-neutral friendly bathroom policies and signage in place? Is the language in your documents unbiased? Do your employees offer their pronouns in their signatures? There are many ways to address systemic biases that can be harmful to LGBTQ(I) folks, and efforts will be even more effective with third-party input. Bringing in a consultant or agency who specializes in LGBTQ(I) inclusion to help modify and implement these policies is a good idea.
2 Offer an invitation to a local pride and/or LGBTQ(I) function
There’s no better time of year than June to take advantage of all the pride-friendly events around town. The type of event depends on your company and culture, and of course events that are geographically available. From local pride parades to seminars and workshops for sensitivity and trauma training, it’s a great way to bond as coworkers. Of course, no event can be required outside of work hours, but they can be publicized and encouraged.
3 Start a fundraiser that benefits an LGBTQ(I) non-profit
If you don’t already have a volunteer committee at work, now is the time to start one! Fundraise throughout June however you like, from Go Fund Me campaigns to car washes and bake sales. Donate proceeds to a fitting non-profit that serves the LGBTQ(I) community; here’s a list of some organizations serving this community across the nation.
How do I support the LGBTQ community in my office?
How you support the LGBTQ(I) community within your office depends on numerous factors. Your business, your employees, your goals, your location, and the resources you have available will all play a factor.
If one doesn’t already exist, building an employee resource group (ERG) for those who identify with the LGBTQ(I) community is a great place to start! Providing a space in which employees feel comfortable, supported, and surrounded by allies is a crucial step in celebrating pride month.
What matters is that you commit to celebrating the LGBTQ(I) community throughout the year. Make a point of sitting down with key players within your business, and documenting what you hope to achieve for this community. It’s the first step in a long, prideful journey.