Happy Pride Month!
For members of the LGBTQ community and allies, the month of June is an opportunity to celebrate diversity, progress and forward momentum and, thankfully, that opportunity has been happening more and more in the workplace as well as out in the community. From changing their social media logos to have rainbow colors to hosting both educational and entertaining Pride-focused events, an increasing number of employers are getting on board with Pride programming.
But, as all LGBTQ folks and allies know, employers should celebrate and support diverse identities throughout the year. As organizations continue to learn and lead in this area, here are a few ways that employees can help move the ball forward to contribute to a culture that makes all workers feel valued:
Rely on allies—and be one!
While members of the LGBTQ community often seek support and connection with other community members within a company, co-workers who identify as allies can be just as important. When you see rainbow stickers on an office door or hear a colleague speak about an LGBTQ family member, that can be a good opportunity to talk about your own connection with the community. And if you want to be a better ally, commit to leading those conversations and creating a safe space in your office and on your team for employees of all identities.
Share (and learn from) stories
Storytelling can be a powerful tool to creating an open—and fun!—work environment. As an ally, take every opportunity to listen to the real-life stories of your LGBTQ colleagues—whether through casual, water cooler conversation or at company-sponsored Pride events—and, as a community member, if you feel comfortable doing so, share your own journey to help other people both learn and find support.
Work with HR
Human resources can be an important ally in ensuring you and your colleagues feel safe and supported. If you are on the receiving end of comments or behavior that feels disrespectful or disparaging, don’t hesitate to share the incident with your HR rep. Allies also can play an important role in raising HR’s awareness about pain points within certain teams.
Tap into organizational resources
Many employers today have formalized their support for LGBTQ employees through offerings like employee resource groups. These worker-led groups give LGBTQ and ally employees a place to find social connections in the workplace, all while raising awareness about LGBTQ issues among their colleagues and even advocating for more inclusive policies and practices. Consider joining (or even starting!) an ERG at your organization to take a more active role in your community within a community.