June is known as Pride Month for the LGBTQ+ community—a time of self-love, acceptance, dignity, and visibility, as well as the commemoration of the Stonewalls riots that occurred in June 1969. The Pride events in the US are largely supported by the government, media, and general public, and many companies try to show their support for the community as well. Unfortunately, in some cases, the only form this support ever takes is a rainbow icon on a social media profile or rainbow-colored merch.
How can you celebrate Pride meaningfully and prove that you’re not doing it just for brownie points? Why is it important to promote diversity and inclusivity in the first place? We’re going to answer these questions in the article below.
Why Inclusivity Matters
Despite the aforementioned mainstream acceptance of Pride, it is still by no means universal. There are lots of individuals, organizations, views, and beliefs out there that make LGBTQ+ people feel unwelcome or even unsafe. So if your company is a truly inclusive place, open to everyone regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, it’s up to you as an employer to show your support and help your LGBTQ+ workers feel it, not just assume it’s there.
On a purely commercial level, inclusivity is a powerful business tool that attracts more varied talent to your company. And LGBTQ+ employees are more likely to stay loyal to a company that openly supports them. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s 2019 report, LGBT-inclusive workplace practices, when implemented, result in tangible benefits.
Pride Month celebration is a great opportunity to demonstrate that inclusivity. And we’re here to give you some ideas on how to do it in a meaningful way.
How You Can Celebrate Pride as a Company
#1 Review your company’s diversity and equity policy
If you want to support the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month, make sure your company policy actually does that as well—supports diversity in your workplace. Is everyone equally valued and protected in your company? Are the consequences of possible discrimination well-defined? Update your policies if anything is amiss to ensure they reflect who you are as a company.
#2 Evaluate the inclusiveness of your product or service
As much as your diversity policy, your product or service should also be a reflection of your values. Check if it’s inclusive right now: do you use gender-neutral terms and pronouns across your software interface? Do you include LGBTQ+ imagery when looking for stock photos and illustrations for your website? Do you protect your LGBTQ+ users if they are getting harassed on your platform? Even if anything on this list is not the case right now, you can always educate yourself and do better in the future.
#3 Educate your employees
Apart from educating yourself, you should also educate your employees. And you can’t find a better occasion for it than Pride Month! Host a lecture with an LGBTQ+ speaker, an inclusion workshop, or a training session. Create a fun yet informative employee handbook on inclusivity that your workers can consult when in doubt. This will help your staff to learn more about the history and the correct terminology of the LGBTQ+ community while their LGBTQ+ colleagues will feel more understood and accepted at their workplace.
#4 Donate to an LGBTQ+ charity
Want to make a purposeful contribution during Pride Month? Consider donating to one or several of the many LGBTQ+ charities. There are a lot of ways to give. You can donate as a company, run a fund-raiser, or promise to give every 10% of each purchase on your website to this or that LGBTQ+ philanthropic organization—whatever suits you best. Do your research before choosing the charity you want to contribute to or ask your LGBTQ+ workers if they have any in mind so that you could make the right choice.
#5 Support an LGBTQ+ business
Supporting local businesses is always good, and supporting small, minority-run enterprises is even better. It can also be really beneficial for you if done properly. Commission a new company logo from an LGBTQ+ artist, partner up with an LGBTQ+ center for a seminar, order from an LGBTQ+-run bakery for your next office party… And remember to give them a shout-out!
#6 Use your platform
We’ve already established that simply changing your social media colors to the rainbow flag is a pretty hollow gesture if it’s not backed with something of significance. But that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate Pride via social media—on the contrary, you can and you should. Use your platform to be the force of good in your community: post educational articles, link back to LGBTQ+ charities, businesses, and creators, give a voice to your LGBTQ+ employees, promote Pride events in your area, etc. Who knows, maybe through your posts, someone in your audience will become a little more confident or a little more accepting this June.
#7 Suggest Pride-themed activities
Don’t forget that, despite its serious causes, Pride is all about fun, positivity, and celebration of life. So make it fun for your workers, too! Suggest collective Pride activities that will not only educate your employees but entertain them as well. If you have a book club at your workplace, they can choose an LGBTQ+ book for June. If you tend to have movie nights with your colleagues, choose a film with good LGBTQ+ representation. Or just throw a Pride-themed office party, to raise everyone’s spirit and bring people together through joy, dance, and communal celebration.
#8 Listen to your LGBTQ+ employees
One of the most vital parts of allyship is a willingness to pay attention to experiences that differ from yours. If you’re not a part of the LGBTQ+ community yourself (and even if you are), take the time to listen to what your LGBTQ+ employees have to say. Ask them what steps they think your company should take toward better inclusivity and representation. Big chance, you will hear something you haven’t even thought of before. Such conversations will also allow you to learn what your workers actually want and need, not just what you think they do. When you have real faces and voices behind the label, it’s easier to avoid baseless assumptions and harmful stereotypes.
And finally, remember that it’s important to continue showing support and celebrating diversity even when Pride Month ends. Help your LGBTQ+ employees stay proud of who they are not just in June but all year round.