by Claire H.
You’ve seen the rainbow brand logos, the supportive tweets from major companies, and the pride-focused messaging already this month, but what about the rest of the year?
One meaningful first step any company or leader can take in supporting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community during Pride Month is to make a thoughtful 12-month plan for supporting organizations that address the unique issues their LGBTQ+ workers face. If support for the community is truly important to your company and core values, take the time to build support and allyship into the structure of your organization.
A rainbow logo or one-time donation isn’t enough, and companies can do better!
As Vox points out, Pride really should not be treated as a branded holiday, and your company can aim higher than a casual once-a-year nod to a community that makes up 5.6% of the American population according to a current Gallup poll.
Showing your allyship during June alone won’t have a measurable impact on your support for LGBTQ+ colleagues. If you’re looking for tangible ways to be of support, read on!
Know your history
Before attending Pride or announcing your allyship to colleagues, do some reading and research.
Learn the history of the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City that are widely cited as the catalyst of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement. It’s especially important for company leaders to learn about the origins of Pride to support your colleagues without co-opting this important celebration to do something gross like co-opt a movement to bolster the reach of your brand.
Many consider commercialized Pride parades to be disrespectful to the origins of the movement which has been critical to the health and wellbeing of so many LGBTQ+ people around the world. So, how can your company do more?
Make your workplace more supportive and LGBTQ+ friendly
According to Plansource, more than half of LGBTQ+ workers are not comfortable being out in the workplace, while more than half have experienced or witnessed anti-LGBTQ+ comments by coworkers. Leadership may think they’ve created an inclusive and safe work environment simply by encouraging inclusiveness or signaling their support for LGBTQ+ workers, but reviewing and changing company policies is an important move for any company who takes
Have you been misgendering people in the workplace? Stop that right now. Your senior team can lead by example, listen to employee feedback, apologize when you become aware you disrespected a colleague, and ensure that internal processes and team are supportive of LGBTQ+ workers.
Ready to begin your review of company policies? Forbes details four ways you can create change at your company right now.
Design a giving-back initiative for year-round support
To achieve support that goes beyond virtue-signaling and allyship for optics, set aside a portion of proceeds for monthly donations to a well-respected organization serving your local LGBTQ+ community. You could even offer employees additional paid time off to volunteer.
Here are a few of our favorite organizations to support in Colorado:
One Colorado is “the state’s leading advocacy organization dedicated to advancing equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Coloradans and their families. We effectively advocate for LGBTQ Coloradans and their families by lobbying the General Assembly, the executive branch, and local governments on issues like safe schools, transgender equality, relationship recognition, and LGBTQ health and human services.” Discover ways to support One Colorado all year round.
Envision You is an amazing organization whose mission is to “support, educate, and empower members of Colorado’s LGBTQ+ community who are living with a mental health and/or substance use disorder.” Learn more and contribute to Envision you.
The Center on Colfax “opened in 1976 has grown to become the largest LGBTQ community center in the Rocky Mountain region, giving voice to Colorado's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community and playing a pivotal role in statewide initiatives to reduce harassment and discrimination.” Volunteer and learn more about supporting The Center on Colfax.
How has your company stepped up to offer tangible support to the LGBTQ community? We would love to hear the actions you’ve taken in the comments.
Community Manager Claire H. (she/her) is a queer writer from Denver, Colorado. She earned her B.A. in English Composition at Colorado State University.