A lot has changed in workplaces over the last few years, but the importance of diversity and inclusion is here to stay. Recognizing the value of everyone in your workspace is essential, whether in remote or hybrid settings.
Around the world, June is recognized as Pride Month to commemorate the tipping point in queer history, which is the Stonewall Uprising that occurred in 1969 and lasted six days as the police clashed with LGBTQIA+ protesters. Pride Month celebrations attract millions of participants each year as it’s celebrated through parades, concerts, picnics, lectures, and more.
Celebrating Pride Month at work helps create a safe and inclusive environment for queer workers so they feel represented and valued as some may have felt pressured to keep their identities a secret out of fear of mistreatment or alienation. The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially hard on members of the LGBTQIA+ community as many have lost their jobs or been isolated by loved ones, so it’s even more important now to celebrate their resilience and fight for equality.
If this is your first year celebrating Pride Month, you don’t need to create a full rainbow explosion; instead, invest your efforts in improving empathy, awareness, and understanding to contribute to a safe environment at work. Here are some ideas on how companies can celebrate Pride Month:
1. Get educated and establish yourself as an ally
Involvement in Pride Month requires understanding of its history and significance. Taking some time to do research and demonstrating supportive attitudes and actions toward your LGBTQIA+ co-workers is a great way to be an ally.
2. Organize and engage in Pride events
Part of celebrating Pride Month is actively participating in events. Has your company previously hosted a happy hour, get-together, or celebrated a huge milestone? If so, you’ll find putting together a Pride celebration is similar. Hosting Pride-focused lunches and other events to spread awareness is a great idea, be it in virtual or physical form.
If you don’t have the time or resources to participate in or organize your company’s Pride event, there are city-wide events and online ones you can probably join.
3. Decorate your office and dress inclusively
The simple act of hanging rainbow flags and banners will not only boost morale but also bring color into the office. For those working remotely, a random gesture like changing your Zoom background to a Pride Month background, creating and sharing playlists with LGBTQIA+ musical icons, using rainbow emojis, or playing Pride Month trivia on communication channels such as Slack or Chatter also has the same effect.
Encouraging your co-workers to dress in colorful clothing during the month of June or setting a day aside specifically for rainbow-colored clothing to be worn is also a good way to celebrate Pride at work.
4. Rally your co-workers, attend parades, and give back to the community
Showing up and cheering from the sidelines is all you have to do to be a part of Pride. You might find Pride parades or walks that you and your co-workers can attend together. Organizing charity fundraisers with your colleagues and donating to LGBTQIA+ charities is essential, too. If you’re not in a financial position to do so, consider giving your time through volunteer opportunities and raising awareness.
5. Organize a virtual book club
If your company already has an established book club, reading LGBTQIA+ authors is a great way to celebrate. If you don’t, organize a virtual one featuring queer authors. Create a space for discussion and have fun.
6. Consider your company’s inclusivity and support LGBTQIA+ businesses
Create resources and start dialogue in your company on whether it’s inclusive. Figure out how to help your co-workers feel comfortable. Your company may benefit from inviting external consultants, such as queer activists, to speak about the struggles of the community, or hosting workshops on being more inclusive. Another example of something you can do is purchasing food for a company event from a queer-owned bakery.
7. Send out Pride emails and make blog posts
Sending special emails for Pride Month is a simple and cost-effective initiative. It can include profiles of queer figures or historical facts. You can also encourage LGBTQIA+ employees to write blogs for the company website on queer issues to amplify their voices and hopefully improve company culture.
These are examples of Pride Month celebration ideas that communicate your company recognizes and values its employees regardless of their gender and sexuality, which creates a healthier work environment. To support Pride Month efforts, you must focus on acceptance and tolerance. Pride is a protest and celebration that focuses on equality.
Women AdvaNCe compiled a list of Pride Month events happening this June! You can check it out here.
Victoria Goldiee explores the intersection of right, wrong, and an appearance of rightness. Her writing skills include women, tech, entertainment, and culture. She is particularly keen on headlining untold stories of women.