This June marks the 51st annual Pride Month celebrations. Pride Month was established in London in 1972, and since then has grown rapidly both in popularity and establishment. Throughout June, you will see many cities across the country (and the world) holding Pride themed events, parades and festivals. Pride Month is designed to both celebrate the huge progress which has been made in the space of LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion, but also to acknowledge and challenge the biases that many members of the community still face every single day.
Recent figures show that there are 1.5 million people who identify as LGBT+ in the UK. For the first time in history, the most recent census included this as a question. This is a truly important moment in the LGBT+ community’s history, and is just one of the examples of inclusion that should have happened a long time ago. It’s hugely important that employers and employees show their allyship and solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community all year round, but especially during Pride Month. Here are 5 ways that employers can encourage inclusion and commemorate / mark Pride Month in the workplace.
One of the most important things to do during Pride Month and beyond is to educate ourselves on the history of LGBTQ+ inclusion, and to make sure we have a good knowledge of the different languages, identities and discriminations they use and face. Even when we’re not the ones facing the discrimination or exclusions, it’s still important to show allyship and solidarity whenever we can. During Pride Month, employers can promote inclusion by hosting learning sessions, whether via a webinar or in the office, to educate and inspire colleagues around the topic. More casual and relaxed settings like this can encourage people to ask more questions and talk more about their experiences, so it can be a great way to raise the profile of these awareness events in the calendar. Many companies are forming employee networks to create communities within their workforce. These can be made up of anyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or identity, and can encourage idea sharing, support networks and allyship.
Pride Month is a great opportunity to get everyone talking about LGBTQ+ inclusion and promote campaigns such as Stonewall’s UK Take Pride initiative. Employers should ensure that they are posting about Pride on their social media channels, whether that’s sharing stats on their inclusion metrics or diversity targets, giving their employees a platform to express their experiences, or just to show solidarity and support through things like petitions and donations. Many companies amend their logos for the duration of Pride Month to incorporate the Pride flag, or add in a company bio relating to LGBTQ+ inclusion. Although inclusion shouldn’t be something employers only consider once a year, by talking about Pride Month online, we raise awareness on the issues which need to be raised in order to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ communities all over the country.
Many companies are returning to the office for more days of the week, and what better place to celebrate and really get behind Pride Month. There are over 20 different Pride flags, each representing different communities, individuals and identities. The one thing they have in common though is that they’re colourful, and make perfect additions to the office decor. By filling your offices with rainbows, you can spread a bit of cheer and raise awareness of Pride. By no means should decorations be your only way of supporting Pride Month but it is a great way to remind employees and keep the message going throughout June.
Misgendering is one of the most common occurrences members of the LGBTQ+ communities face on a daily basis. This is when someone assumes an individual’s gender based on looks, the sound of their voice or other personal attributes. Many people prefer to use pronouns such as they / them rather than he/him or she/her. Employers can support their workforce and help to stop misgendering occurring by asking their employees to include their gender pronouns in their email signature, and on social media profiles such as LinkedIn and Instagram. Steps like these will enable members of the transgender and non-binary communities to feel supported, included and seen.
Diversity training is quickly becoming a standard practice for many businesses, and is now regarded as just as important as things like compliance and safety training modules. Pride Month is a great opportunity for employers to look at their procedures, policies and standards and evaluate their effectiveness and inclusivity. Many employers claim to be inclusive but their procedures aren’t, so by including things like shared parental leave, adoption support and coverage for things like gender-affirming treatments.
As well as looking at policies, employers should introduce / improve their training modules to ensure all employees are aware of potential biases and how to spot discrimination, as well as making sure that managers are equipped to deal with any issues and conflicts accordingly.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, there are plenty of ways that employers and companies can get involved in Pride Month. From attending local parades and events to donating to charities, it’s so important that employers show their support, no matter how many of their employees identify in the LGBTQ+ community. By taking these essential steps to show allyship and solidarity, Pride Month will only continue to grow and become part of everyone’s calendar of events.
Want to know about other diversity & inclusion events to add to your calendar? CHeck out Diversity in Tech’s 2023 calendar here.