Inclusivity is the way in which a company makes its workplace feel welcome and supports individuals regardless of their differences. Forbes measures inclusion by a sense of belonging, connection and community at work. It’s really about how you feel connected to your workplace and the people around you. An organization that has mastered inclusion is one where people feel encouraged to bring their "whole selves" to work. Between voicing diverse points of view and finding a sense of connection to others, this is what makes inclusion real.
Importance of LGBTQIA2+ Inclusion
No matter the definition, inclusivity is an important part of unlocking an organization's full potential and LGBTQIA2S+ inclusion is an essential aspect of that. The constantly evolving acronym LGBTQIA2S+ (also referred to as LGBTQ+ or LGBTQIA+) stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Two-Spirit, and the countless ways in which people identify. LGBTQIA2S+ communities in the United States have experienced discrimination and exclusion in the workforce for years. In 2021, 46% of LGBTQ workers reported receiving unfair treatment at some point in their careers because of their sexual orientation or gender identity — including being passed over for a job, harassed at work, denied a promotion or raise, excluded from company events, denied additional hours, or fired…
But data has shown companies that commit to diversity and inclusion efforts see a positive impact in all areas of the business including recruitment, retention, and revenue (SHRM). An inclusive workplace brings in fresh perspectives and helps employees perform at their best.
Leaders must work to promote greater inclusivity all year round but a great opportunity to show equality and care is by honoring Pride Month.. the right way!
Identify what an inclusive workplace looks like
- Encouragement to share one’s voice
- Feeling a sense of belonging
- Having equal access to resources and opportunities
- Fostering collaboration and valuing individual ideas/contributions
- Supporting transparency in workplace decisions
Be Pride and Proud and Include Everyone
Pride Month is a time dedicated to celebrating the activism and achievements of the LGBTQIA2S+ community.
In the United States, Pride Month takes place in June to honor the Stonewall Uprising that took place in June 1969 in New York City. The uprising led to a series of demonstrations by members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community due to police harassment and raids at the Stonewall Inn.
Pride Month is an opportunity for LGBTQIA2S+ individuals and allies to unite and promote equality, inclusion, and acceptance of all people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Most Pride events take place each year in June, although some cities hold their celebrations at other times of the year. Pride now takes place across the world and features events like marches, parades, educational sessions, and more!
The rainbow flag, which was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978, is now a symbol for the LQBTQIA2S+ community and can be seen throughout different parts of Pride Month events. In 2018, Daniel Quasar designed a new version of the flag to include Brown, Black, and Trans colors showing the support of the people of color and trans in the community.
Pride Month is about representation of all. As your company looks to celebrate and honor Pride Month this year, it is important to remind ourselves that not all LGBTQIA2S+ share the same views or priorities. Individuals may belong to a certain community but they may not live the exact same life or share all the same views as the next. To have an inclusive workplace, means to understand the nuances and celebrate those differences with as many options and ways as possible.
Next, we share some ways to appreciate all identities within your workforce this Pride Month.
Get Creative - How Can You Celebrate Pride Month This June
1. Show Your Support & Wear Pride colors
Invite your workforce to wear Pride colors for the month of June. If you are in a remote setting, change your Zoom background to include Pride colors or a graphic like this:
Encourage team members to support LGBTQIA2S+ vendors, businesses, and local artists. You can find different LGBTQIA2S+ businesses even online here!
2. Run a Social Media Campaign
Share quotes from voices within the LGBTQIA2S+ community (including some not well-known) on your company's social media. Or invite your workforce to participate in a spotlight either featuring individuals who identify in the LGBTQIA2S+ community or who are allies.
3. Donate to a Charity
A few organizations you can contribute to are: The Human Rights Campaign, The Trevor Project, The Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, The National Center for Trans Equality, GLSEN, The National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network and so many more.
4. Host a Virtual Live Game Show with Luna Park
We’ve created an incredibly fun and educational game show hosted by professional comedians. In our virtual live shows, you and your team can celebrate Pride month with our one-a-kind Pride themed games! Check out our game, “Tune Time”, where your team works together to name a well-known Pride Anthem before the title is revealed. Luckily, you will have some super cool clues along the way to help, and the clues also are facts related back to LGBTQIA2S+ culture! Book a live event today!
5.Encourage Ongoing Education and Understanding
Provide opportunities for ongoing educational opportunities. These could include sharing best practices or articles in Slack. Or organizing a traditional virtual training session. Here are a few topics that are helpful to know and educate on:
- Historical facts and language from the LGBTQIA2S+ community
- Using correct pronouns
- Avoiding unconscious biases
- LGBTQIA2S+ rights around the globe
- Allyship at work
- The different identities and what they mean
- The different Pride flags and which each flag represents
Another great option is to book speakers from the community. Here is a list of a few to reach out to:
- Elisa Glick, PhD
- Max Siegel
- Madison Butler
- Liam Paschall
- Shannon Wong Lerner, Ph.D.
- Magda Stega
- August Rocha
- Leo Caldwell
- Ethan Levine
- Yeong Cheng (they/them)
- Gabrielle Claiborne
- Rebecca Minor, LICSW
- Ash Ramirez (they/elle/papi).
6. Form or Encourage Participation in Employee Resources Groups
Employee resource groups (ERGs) often offer programs or hold events that help drive employee engagement, and ultimately mitigate employee turnover. These resource groups provide support for employees of various backgrounds, while allowing individuals to come together under common values and interests. For example, Squarespace is a company that is committed to fostering a positive workplace environment for their LGBTQIA2S+ identifying employees and allies. The company has established two ERGs, Queerspace and TransAt, to help support the community with a variety of educational events, fundraisers, and annual awareness days. Additionally, Squarespace offers gender-neutral restrooms and provides coverage for gender affirming health care as part of its comprehensive medical benefits package.
7. Encourage employees to attend local events
March for the right cause in your local area! Check out a few of these historic parades:
- New York City Pride Parade June 25th
- Los Angeles Pride Parade June 11th
- San Francisco Pride Parade June 25th
- Chicago Pride Parade June 25th
- Boston Pride Parade June 10th
8.Create a shared playlist that emphasizes the theme of Pride
Spotify has a ton of great playlists highlighting different genres of LGBTQIA2S+ artists! Get your team in the Pride mindset through these shared playlists.
Build an Inclusive Culture The Right Way
Pride Month is just one opportunity to show your workplace that you care but it is important to avoid “rainbow washing” - meaning giving superficial support of the LGBTQIA2S+ community, often for marketing and PR purposes, without taking concrete actions to actually assist members in that community.
Full inclusion of all means more than just celebrating one month of activities. It requires constant efforts of elevating LGBTQIA2S+ voices, providing opportunities for educating and trainings, creating pro-inclusion policies, and so much more! In order to best understand if you have an inclusive culture, create opportunities for team members to give feedback on your inclusion efforts either through 1-on-1’s or pulse surveys or committees. Be ready to adjust based on what you find.
If you need guidance or advice, we recommend attending this amazing webinar: https://circlein.com/resources/beyond-rainbow-washing-how-to-show-up-for-your-lgbtqia-employees/