Every June you may see a flood of rainbow logos, parades and festivities in the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate Pride Month. In my experience, every year the recognition of Pride Month grows to include many more allies and supporters. So, how can you celebrate Pride Month in your workplace?
This can be tricky since not everyone feels comfortable being “out” at work. A recent article from HR Dive reports that one quarter of LGBTQ employees keep their identity hidden. Many people are worried their coworkers will treat them differently. Even though the Supreme Court ruled in 2020 that a person can’t be fired due to their sexual orientation or gender identity, there is still a lot of hatred and intolerance in the world. It can be exhausting. That’s why it is important to celebrate with the people who support you!
Despite the negativity we might see in the news and social media, Pride Month activities are filled with joy and acceptance. “Love is Love” t-shirts, parades with rainbow balloons, drag shows, family picnics and more!
If this is your first year to try to celebrate Pride Month in your workplace, I doubt your employees are expecting a full rainbow explosion. Your efforts still need to align with your culture and your brand. Any efforts you make to improve empathy, awareness, and understanding will contribute to an environment where all employees can feel safe and thrive.
Create an Inclusive Culture
The first step to celebrating Pride Month in your workplace is to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment. Your LGBTQ+ employees will feel safer, develop stronger work relationships, and be more productive.
Do employees feel comfortable being “out” in your organization? Do you have any LGBTQ+ employees in manager and leadership positions? Promote your mission, vision, and values so these are more top-of-mind.
If your inclusive culture is obvious to job candidates, you may be able to attract more top talent as well. Try using more inclusive recruiting sites like Diversity.com. You can read more in our blog “Benefits of LGBTQ Inclusion in Diversity Training.”
If your culture is not quite as inclusive as you hope, there are still some things you can do as an individual to celebrate Pride Month.
Expand Your Training
If you have never celebrated Pride Month before in your workplace, it’s ok. Starting with training is an easy way to begin the conversation. Promote the training courses that support diversity, equity and inclusion. Include training on topics like coming out at work, understanding pronouns, gender identity and sexual orientation, and supporting transitioning coworkers. Encourage self-directed learning across your organization to allow learners to explore the content on their own.
Other related training topics might include:
- Emotional Intelligence
- Social Awareness
- Unconscious Bias
- Change Management
- What is Privilege?
Host an Inclusion Workshop
Whether your company already has created a diverse and inclusive culture, or it is still a work in progress, you could organize an inclusion workshop. Bring in an external professional to facilitate the session. This could be held in person or via a webinar with the goal of gaining understanding and celebrating inclusivity.
Recognize Pride Month
On June 1st, I received a text from a coworker wishing me “Happy Pride Month!” At that point in the morning, I didn’t even realize it had started! It was a simple gesture, but it made my day!
I am enjoying how some companies have changed their logos on social media to rainbow colors. Others have created rainbow versions of their products. I have never seen so many mainstream companies on social media promoting their products specially designed for Pride Month. Kate Spade, Coach, Adidas, Converse, Target and many more. Knowing there is a business risk of organized boycotts of their products, I admire all these companies for valuing inclusiveness.
Other simple ideas:
- Create Pride Month backgrounds for video calls. (You can download some of them we created here.)
- Invite employees to add their pronouns to their email signatures.
- Share Pride Month trivia on your internal communications channels like Slack or Chatter.
- Promote a playlist of gay artists and gay music icons like this one on Spotify.
Donate to an LGBTQ+ Charity
If your company isn’t ready for a big, public-facing Pride initiative, they can simply donate to an LGBTQ+ charity. A few you might consider are:
- The Trevor Project helps youth in crisis. LGBTQ+ youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth.
- True Colors United helps fight LGBTQ homelessness. LGBTQ+ youth are 120% more likely to experience homelessness.
- Human Rights Campaign works locally, nationally and globally to tackle inequality on all fronts.
It’s important to highlight that LGBTQ+ Pride Month commemorates the Stonewall riots in June of 1969, led by black trans activist Marsha P. Johnson. Celebrating Black History Month and Juneteenth helps to brings us all together and shows how we are all connected. There is room for everyone!
- Benefits of LGBTQ Inclusion in Diversity Training
- Workplace Diversity & Inclusion Training Topics
- Improve Employee Social Awareness Through Workplace Empathy