Happy Pride Month! In June (and, hopefully, during every month of the year), we celebrate and uplift the LGBTQ+ community. In 2023, Pride Month is even more important, as this community, particularly the trans community, faces heightened discrimination, hatred, and even danger.
Pride Month honors the Stonewall Uprising of 1969, a riot in which LGBTQ+ activists in Manhattan – many of whom were trans women of color – fought back against police raids at gay bars and other LGBTQ+ inclusive spaces. This “first Pride” was not a celebration, but a fight for justice during a time in which “homosexual acts” were punishable by law.
Today, Pride Month is both a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community as well as a remembrance of the continued fight for justice and equality. Mines & Associates provides various employee assistance programs in this space – be sure to reach out to learn more.
Building an inclusive and affirmative workplace, in which everyone feels safe enough to show up as their full selves, is critical. Finding meaningful ways to celebrate Pride can be an excellent opportunity to do that.
It’s important to remember that, however you choose to celebrate Pride Month in your workplace, the goal is to build a more inclusive workplace for your employees who are LGBTQ+ and to celebrate diversity. In other words, try to avoid what’s known as “rainbow-washing” – or when organizations “celebrate” Pride by using rainbows in visual design without actually doing anything to contribute to the LGBTQ+ cause. For example, changing your Slack profile picture to have a rainbow border might fall under this category.
Don’t get us wrong – wearing rainbow outfits and changing your profile picture can be fun and can add to the festivities of Pride. But it’s also important to take Pride as an opportunity to build a safer workplace for LGBTQ+ employees. Mines & Associates offers various employee assistance programs to help in these endeavors.
If you celebrate Pride Month in a way that’s performative, with no impact behind it, it’s unlikely to truly create more inclusion. Performative acts like “rainbow-washing” might even do harm to your LGBTQ+ employees or make them feel unsafe in the workplace. The actions that you take during Pride Month should have positive impacts on your LGBTQ+ employees, both now and long after June ends.
If you identify as LGBTQ+ and would like to contribute to your workplace’s Pride Month celebrations, speak up! You know exactly how you’d like Pride to be celebrated at work, and your generous contributions will make for a more meaningful celebration. Of course, no one should be forced to participate or contribute, whether you’re out or not.
With that said, here are 4 ideas you can use to celebrate Pride Month at work – in a more meaningful way than using a rainbow Zoom background or putting up a poster!
One impactful thing you can do for all of your employees during Pride Month is to provide education. When your employees are more knowledgeable about the issues that the LGBTQ+ community has faced in history and now, they are more likely to be empathetic to what some of their colleagues may experience on a day-to-day basis.
There are so many ways you can become educated together in the workplace. You could hold a Pride Month book club, in which employees are asked to read impactful books or articles about the LGBTQ+ community. You could invite a speaker to talk to your organization about LGBTQ+ issues, or watch movies and documentaries together.
After engaging in community learning, hold open conversations. What did you learn? What surprised you? What questions do you still have, and what can you do differently now that you know better? You can contact Mines & Associates to learn more about our own employee assistance programs in the mental health space.
Learn how to be a better ally
For those employees who aren’t part of the LGBTQ+ community, you can set a year-long dedication to be a better ally. Depending on what diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts your organization has already implemented, this group goal or intention could be woven into already existing programs.
Don’t just say you’re going to be a better ally. Provide effective training and workshops to teach employees how to actually show up for the LGBTQ+ community. Hire a consultant to review your hiring practices and give you direction on where you could be more inclusive as an organization. Mines & Associates can help in these efforts thanks to our various employee assistance programs.
Often, microaggressions and other hurtful things happen with good intentions. Take good intentions one step further, and commit to learning (and unlearning) and taking action. Make an action plan that breaks down how your organization will continue to show up for LGBTQ+ people after June.
Incentivize attending Pride celebrations
Pride Month isn’t just about the fight and struggles of the LGBTQ+ community – it’s also a celebration. Many cities are filled with parades, drag shows, parties, and other events that give people the opportunity to celebrate diversity and show up as their authentic selves.
One way you might celebrate Pride as a workplace is to incentivize attendance at these community events. This allows LGBTQ+ employees to be able to attend these celebrations without worrying about how it will affect their performance at work. If LGBTQ+ employees have explicitly stated they would like to and/or would feel safe doing so, then your team could even attend a community event together.
If you are an ally (not an LGBTQ+ person yourself), consider using this time to learn more about how you can show up for your LGBTQ+ colleagues in an impactful way. Keep in mind that not all LGBTQ+ people will feel comfortable having their straight colleagues at a Pride parade with them, so make decisions on a case-by-case basis.
Give to the LGBTQ+ cause
You can also work together as a team to donate funds to an organization that fights for LGBTQ+ rights. Some examples of organizations doing impactful work for the cause include:
- Lambda Legal – protects the civil rights of the LGBTQ+ community and people who are HIV+
- Local community centers for LGBTQ+ people or youth
Don’t just donate – learn about each organization and ask how else you can contribute to the work that they’re doing.
MINES & Associates provides LGBTQ+ affirmative counseling during Pride Month and beyond. You can access your EAP counseling program 24/7 and it’s always free. We also have many training options to help leaders become more inclusive. We also offer various employee assistance programs to help in these efforts.
Happy Pride Month from all of us here at the MINES & Associates team!