Pride Month and Advocating for LGBTQ+ Community in the Workforce
By Frontline Group June 25, 2021
Pride Month and Advocating for LGBTQ+ Community in the Workforce
By Frontline Group
June 25, 2021
June is a wonderful month bursting with celebrations and rejuvenations. Graduations, weddings, Father’s Day, the summer solstice, and especially Pride Month – an entire month celebrating the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning + (LGBTQ+) communities. Frontline Group wants to acknowledge and celebrate Pride Month (particularly LGBTQ+ individuals in the workforce) by educating readers about the history of Pride Month and what it means; sharing some popular LGBTQ+ films, television shows and books; and explaining what Frontline Group is doing to help advocate for the LGBTQ+ communities in the workforce.
Why We Celebrate Pride Month
Pride Month is celebrated annually in June to promote equality, equal justice, and equal opportunities for the LGBTQ+ communities. Pride Month began as a tribute to the individuals involved in the Stonewall Riots. On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village, New York. Protestors, including bar patrons, bar staff and neighborhood residents rioted to resist the police harassment and persecution which LGBTQ+ communities were subject to at the time. Protestors demanded the creation of establishments where LGBTQ+ people could go and be open about their sexual orientation, without fear of police harassment or arrest. The uprising was the start of a movement to change discriminatory laws and practices against LGBTQ+ communities.
Pride Month was given the name “Pride” to encourage feelings of pride as communities come together to celebrate and strengthen the LGBTQ+ communities and recognize the positive impact members of the LGBTQ+ communities have historically had in society. Pride parades, marches, picnics, parties, workshops, concerts, and memorials to LGBTQ+ individuals who have died from hate crimes or HIV/Aids, are some of the inspiring activities which characterize Pride Month. The rainbow flag is a popular symbol of diversity in the LGBTQ+ community with each color also having a literal meaning.
Pride Month turns 51 in 2021- over five decades of celebrating love, diversity, acceptance, and self-affirmation and pride. Pride Month celebrations are returning somewhat in person in 2021, as the world starts to reopen. This year will be a mix of virtual and in-person activities, as Pride Month’s 50-year birthday was celebrated virtually last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. But in the spirit of inclusiveness, millions of people around the globe will participate in activities.
Supporting Diversity in the Workplace
Frontline Group recognizes supporting LGBTQ+ in the workforce is paramount in creating an inclusive workplace environment. Frontline understands equality and fairness are critical to a successful operational plan – companies which advocate for an inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ employees, create a healthy and proactive atmosphere for all employees!
Companies which support LGBTQ+ employees with a mission towards equality, fairness and diversity can attract excellent applicants as well as earn the respect of the greater community. Although advocating for LGBTQ+ communities in the workforce is multifaceted, below are some of the steps Frontline is taking for the LGBTQ+ employees in the workforce.
Avoiding Gendered Pronouns
He, she, they, or something entirely different has become an important self-describing desire for members of the LGBTQ+ communities. Using gender-neutral language in the workplace makes everyone feel welcome, regardless of how they identify. It also establishes an example for all employees that gender-neutral language and inclusivity is the norm.
Frontline’s goal is to encourage employees to feel comfortable self-identifying by creating a gender-neutral work environment. Frontline recognizes the importance of using gender-neutral language – whether on Zoom calls, signatures on emails, using parent instead of mother or father, and being open to other gender-neutral communication modalities. Frontline supports establishing clear guidelines about pronouns and making sure the chosen pronoun is respected by all employees. We have also encouraged any employee to share their pronoun whether it be on zooms, in their signatures or in another form.
Establishing an employee resource group for LGBTQ+ employees is an excellent initiative in creating an inclusive place for LGBTQ+ community members to work. Resource groups are a safe, secure gathering place for diverse employees and are helpful in fostering inclusion reform. Resource groups give employees a sense of belonging and acceptance.
Resource groups provide a supportive work environment for LGBTQ+ members as well as their supporters and provides a platform for education and awareness. An LGBTQ+ employee resource group allows members to bring their authentic self to the workplace and be assured they are not alone in their diversity.
Education and Engagement
Frontline is also advocating for “lunch and learns” for education and awareness regarding the LGBTQ+ community. “Lunch and learns” are positive opportunities to raise awareness of the struggle of the LGBTQ+ community and how to maximize support of the community. “Lunch and learns” provide opportunity for discussion and understanding of the LGBTQ+ community and a chance for everyone to embrace diversity and learn how to make the workplace more inclusive and competent.
There is a myriad of LGBTQ+ films, television shows and books to use as educational material and resources. Although the list is extensive, below are some noteworthy examples of films: “The Stonewall Uprising” is an archival film featuring footage and interviews with individual who took part in the Stonewall protest. “Moonlight” was an acclaimed movie about a young, black man trying to find his place in the world. “How to Survive a Plague” is the story of the young activists who demanded the nation address the AIDs epidemic. Some entertaining television shows which explore LGBTQ+ topics and characters include “Orange is the New Black”, “Pose”, “Vida”, “Glee” and the popular “Schitt’s Creek” to name only a few. Although the list of remarkable LGBTQ+ books are numerous and tell unique stories, the following books are consistently recommended: “Giovanni’s Room”, by James Baldwin, “The Color of Purple”, by Alice Walker, “The Price of Salt”, by Patricia Highsmith, “Orlando”, by Virginia Wolf and “Ruby -Fruit Jungle”, by Rita Mae Brown.
Applauding Progress, Aiming for Perfection
Although LGBTQ+ equality and rights have dramatically improved since the 1969 Stonewall riots, increasing inclusivity in the workplace for LGBTQ+ employees is a work in progress. Pride Month is a great reminder of the challenges faced in supporting the LGBTQ+ community and the necessary changes to make a truly inclusive workforce. It is exciting to think of how much one can learn and grow to support the LGBTQ+ community.
Creating a truly inclusive workplace for LGBTQ+ employees is challenging and rewarding. Inclusivity benefits all employees as well as the company be creating a more engaged workforce. Look for the rainbow flag flying high this month around the world and think about what you can do to help an employee feel more safe, secure, and supported.