Pride Month is all about equality and inclusion, celebrating the voices, culture, achievements and rights of LGBTQ+ communities around the world. Every June, social media is awash with rainbow-coloured logo’s, brands hyping their support, proudly publishing Pride-related content and enjoying a little glitter-covered glory. Great! But if you’re looking for ways to genuinely support the fight for Pride and contribute real value to the LGBTQ+ community, read on…
First of all, let’s set the scene with a look at where it all began. In the early hours of June 28, 1969, police raided The Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in New York’s West Village. Bar patrons rebelled against the injustice, fighting for their rights in what came to be known as The Stonewall Riots. Widely recognised as the catalyst of the Gay Liberation Movement, the Stonewall uprising is now commemorated every June with Pride Month celebrations around the world.
Why Celebrate Pride Month at Work?
Many of us know intuitively that diversity and inclusion are good for business. Morally it’s a no-brainer, but creating a workplace that’s a mosaic of different identities, experiences, skillsets and perspectives can also have a massive impact on the bottom line.
Diversity Council Australia’s recent Out at Work report showed that employees in organisations which are highly LGBTIQ+ inclusive are at least twice as likely as employees in non-inclusive cultures to achieve, innovate and provide excellent customer service. Likewise, the 2021-22 Inclusion@Work Index showed that workers in inclusive workplaces are 11 times more likely to be highly effective and 10 times more likely to be innovative.
When it comes to the LGBTIQ+ community, recent Gallup research in America revealed that nearly 21% of Generation Z adults (born between 1997 and 2003) and 10.5% of Millennials (born 1981-1996) identify as LGBT. With 75% of the global workforce to be made up of millennials by 2025, that’s a massive proportion of the current and future workforce right there.
And then there’s the small matter of your consumers… the current generation, which includes an increasingly larger proportion of people who identify as LGBTQ+, are a morally conscious bunch – and they’ll hold any business that’s not to account.
So doesn’t it makes perfect sense for global business leaders to embrace the LGBTQ+ community? And embracing the LGBTIQ+ community is what Pride Month is all about. It isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.
5 Meaningful Ways to Celebrate
1. Send a message from the top
The ‘lavender ceiling’ is to the LGBTQ+ community what the glass ceiling is to women. A lack of visible representation at the top can make it tough for LGBTQ+ employees to see themselves rising up the ranks. If you have people that openly identify as LGBTQ+ in a leadership position, ask them to share their experiences. Ernst & Young has strong LGBTQ+ representation in management and created this video to share their own experiences and show their support for LGBTQ+ staff. How great is that?
2. Host an Inclusion Workshop
A hands-on Inclusion Workshop led by an external professional will help you create a safe and inclusive workplace for LGBTQ+ employees. These workshops can help teams understand the experience of people with diverse genders and/or sexualities, provide useful tips and best practice strategies to ensure LGBTQ+ inclusion, cover correct gender identity terms and how to manage pronouns to improve inclusivity.
3. Help them understand
A professional LGBTQ+ motivational speaker can have a huge impact on employee understanding and empathy. Take Ian Roberts for example – having played in 5 State of Origin series for NSW and over a dozen test matches for Australia, Ian was one of the best front rowers in the game. He was also the first openly gay man in rugby league, having come out to the public at the height of his career in 1994. While Ian received thousands of letters of support, he also received extensive hate mail – but there’s no doubt that his coming out saved the lives of many kids from suicide. After retiring from professional sport in 1998, Ian moved to the US to pursue an acting career and has since had more than 40 acting roles to his credit, working with the likes of Cate Blanchett, Kevin Spacey and Hugo Weaving.
Ian shares his personal journey to help motivate others to be their best whilst facing their fears, and his powerful story – along with his unique ability to connect with and inspire others – leaves an indelible mark on everyone who hears it. Other LGBTQ+ motivational speakers who also have an important story to tell include Ian Thorpe, Audrey Mason-Hyde, and JJ Ferrari. Let us know if you’d like an introduction!
4. Evaluate your discrimination & diversity policies
The perfect way to celebrate Pride Month is by taking a good long look at your year-round work policies. Diversity Council Australia’s Out at Work report showed that while 74% of LGBTIQ+ respondents said it was important to be able to be out at work, only 32% actually were. Why is that? Could your company do better at being inclusive when it comes to policies, standards or even bathroom regulations?
Once you’ve hosted your Inclusion Workshop, you’ll be able to identify pretty quickly where your areas of weakness are. If you’re unsure where to start, here are some questions to kick you off:
– Do you have a clear mission statement that prioritises fair treatment and support of the LGBTQ+ community?
– Do you have a zero-tolerance anti-discrimination policy with clear consequences for those that don’t comply?
– Do you provide equal benefits for all employees regardless of their sexual orientation— including time off for maternity/paternity leave, adoption leave and pay?
5. Create the right culture
Having an inclusive culture is the absolute end-goal for celebrating Pride, and there are some easy ways you can ramp up your efforts:
– Link inclusion to your company values and use posters, emails and videos to promote inclusive behaviours and drive the message home internally.
– Celebrate out loud when you see people adopting inclusive behaviours – you might want to share the Diversity Council Australia’s Words at Work guide as a start.
– Facilitate open discussions so that employees at all levels feel encouraged and comfortable expressing their ideas and opinions.
Pride Month is a fantastic time to acknowledge the struggles of LGBTQ+ communities worldwide and celebrate diversity and inclusion in your own workplace. But jumping on the bandwagon because, well… it’s June… and you like rainbows… is not cool. Neither is radio silence for the other 11 months of the year. Taking actionable steps to combat LGBTQ+ issues and promote inclusion should be a year-round priority – as the marvellous J.K. Rowling says, “If Harry Potter taught us anything, it’s that no one should live in a closet”.
With Pride Month coming up in June, now is the time to lock in a LGBTQ+ motivational speaker to speak to your team. Our wonderful LGBTQ+ trailblazers include Ian Roberts, Audrey Mason-Hyde, Ian Thorpe and JJ Ferrari – all have captivating stories to tell, and will inspire real understanding and change in your team. If you’d like us to introduce you, simply get in touch with us for a chat.