Did you know acceptance and inclusion are essential for feeling motivated and performing productively at work? June is a great opportunity to show your LGBTQ+ staff that they are a valued part of your team as you celebrate Pride Month. But how can you make sure that your Pride celebrations are more than just a token effort?
What is Pride Month?
In June, people around the world celebrate the LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) Pride Month to commemorate a breaking point in queer history: the Stonewall Riots. This event lasted six days in Manhattan in 1969 as police clashed with the historic gay liberation movement and fought for LGBTQ rights.
After Stonewall Riots, Pride became all about commemoration through extraordinary events and attracted millions of participants every year as queer communities and allies honor the LGBTQIA+ identity through parades, workshops, parties, picnics, lectures, concerts, and more. Nowadays, there are organizations and groups around the world that contribute to raising awareness.
How to Celebrate Pride Month In a Remote Workplace
1. It All Starts with Education
Too many businesses celebrate Pride with rainbow bunting, cupcakes, or social media posts without really understanding what Pride originally meant, and what it means now. We have come a long way since Stonewall, but there is still a long way to go.
Get together with your colleagues and organize some educational opportunities for your company or team. One of the most meaningful ways to recognize Pride Month is by creating virtual events for LBGTQ+ history lessons. Together with your team, you could invite a speaker to give a Zoom lecture, virtually visit a museum with a guide, or take an online tour of a historically significant site to watch documentaries and old photos.
2. Raise Money for LGBTQ+ Causes
Many great LGBTQ+ charities need support to help with their work. Causes that raise awareness, campaign for change, or support LBGTQ+ people in many other ways. There is always work to do to advance the cause, and using Pride to fundraise for those charities is a great way to do some real good.
Here are some suggested charities:
- Gay Men’s Health Crises
- Los Angeles LGBT Center
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
- The Trevor Project
3. Review your Policies and Procedures
Do you have an Equality and Diversity Policy? When was it last updated? Have people with lived experience of discrimination reviewed it to ensure that it does the things it needs to? Are there any other policies or procedures you have that might be adversely impacting LGBTQ+ colleagues?
Pride Month is a great opportunity to take action that can positively impact your LGBTQ+ staff and any future hires.
What training does your company have on ED&I? If you have mandatory staff training on these issues, great. But what about unconscious biases? Even the most liberal-minded person can sometimes be clinging to internalized ideas that can have a negative impact. There’s always something new to learn. Formal training (especially if it has been designed or delivered by people with lived experience) is helpful to help people understand concepts like the social model of disability and how we all internalize biases around gender, race, and sexuality.
5. Bring in an External Speaker
Discrimination thrives in a ‘them and us’ environment, but it’s much harder to hold onto those feelings if you meet and talk with someone who can put a human face on the ‘them’.
There are lots of great speakers in the LGBTQ+ community who would make great guests for a staff event, helping to open minds and share their stories or tales from LGBTQ+ history.
6. Pride Month Book Club
Highlight LGBTQ+ authors with a Pride Month book club. You could ask for suggestions from staff about a book to read, whether it’s a novel by a gay author, a story about a trans person, or a non-fiction read that discusses aspects of LGBTQ+ history. Encourage staff to take part in reading and discussion around the issues raised in the book.
Looking for new work-from-home books? Check out this list to know every detail about remote work!
7. Movie Night
Whether it’s an in-person movie night or a virtual watch party, get the team together to watch one of the many LGBTQ+ classic films or documentaries; rainbow attire is optional, but popcorn is an absolute necessity! Here are some suggestions for your move list.
- Priscilla Queen of the Desert
- Paris is Burning
- Imagine You and Me
- The Birdcage
8. Understand Allyship
One of the most common questions from anyone trying to improve their allyship is, ‘What can I do to help?’ Unfortunately, this question is often asked of the very people you’re trying to support, adding to their burden. To be a really good ally, you need to take a breath, stop talking and listen.
Expose yourself to more LGBTQ+ voices; authors, filmmakers, artists, YouTubers, Tik Tok influencers, etc. Hear what they are saying and if it’s uncomfortable, try to sit with them and understand why it feels that way. Real allyship means doing the work and making sure you are there for your LGBTQ+ colleagues when it really counts.
9. Host a Virtual Pride Event
Why not bring your team together to celebrate Pride in a virtual Pride event? It’s a powerful message to send to your LGBTQ+ team, that you want the entire company to celebrate Pride. While other activities can be more serious, this is an opportunity to just embrace the spirit of love, acceptance, and equality that Pride brings and have a good time.
10. Show Your Support
One criticism of Pride month from within the LGBTQ+ community is the idea of ‘rainbow-washing’ where companies use Pride to get some attention on social media and then forget about these issues for the rest of the year. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you make your Pride Month activities meaningful rather than a token.
But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t also show your support for the LBGTQ+ community through your social media accounts. Acknowledge pride month, amplify the voices of LGBTQ+ creators and organizations, and signpost your followers to Pride events. The key thing is to make what you do meaningful.
2 Pride Month Tips for Work
1. Say NO To Stereotypes
As a Pride promoter, you should consider the LGBTQ+ community is diverse and encourage your team to act the same way. Avoid making assumptions or generalizations that might offend a colleague or alienate someone.
2. Everyone Invited Doesn’t Mean Everyone Attending
Celebrating Pride Month is a choice, and all employees should have it. Love, life, and sexuality are personal matters. Some colleagues – or even yourself – may prefer to keep their private life private, and you should respect that.
It’s Time to Celebrate Pride Remotely!
Celebrating Pride in the workplace will raise awareness and recognition of Pride in every team member and provide a safe and encouraging space for everyone. Feeling accepted makes you perform better at work and become motivated at what you do. So, why would you miss the chance to raise your and your team’s potential at its best?