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Bringing Authenticity Back to Pride Month

As Pride Month kicks off, it’s an opportune time to reflect on how your company’s DEI strategy can be improved to support LGBTQIA+ people. 

A black woman in a brown hat stands behind and holds a Black woman in a blue dress with sunglasses on her head.

Like much of the DEI landscape and moments that are integral to the culture of people of marginalized identities, Pride has been privatized and used for corporate interests. 

Pride Started as a Rebellion 

While LGBTQ+ activism started long before the Stonewall Uprising, the rebellion marked the turning point in public discourse about queer people in the United States. Though it was not the first time that LGBTQ+ people had been harassed and met with violence from police, it did give their struggle new public momentum and placed the awareness of White cis-hetero people. 

A Black and White picture shows Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera leading a protest at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City in 1969.

Unfortunately, that’s often the case when it comes to progressive, systemic change: it tends to move at a pace comfortable for those in power until those on the margins rally to demand otherwise. 

This Pride Month, examine how you can be proactive rather than reactive as a company to the needs of the LGBTQ+ people who work there. Have you created an environment that is affirming of all queer and trans people, or do you wait for harm to be done to take action? Reflecting candidly on this question and engaging employees to share feedback through surveys or interviews can support your organization in shifting a passive culture into an engaged and inclusive one. 

Pride as a Value, Not a Season 

Pride’s origins in the Stonewall Uprising make it a month rooted in protesting the abuse and mistreatment of LGBTQ+ people. Businesses that celebrate Pride should do so from the inside out, aligning their internal culture of equity and dignity with their external communications. 

A trans couple sits on the couch smiling at one another

A strategic DEI plan can help your company to put its vision of creating an inclusive and equitable working environment for LGBTQ+ people into practice through goals that:

  • Provide the tools and support for them to thrive in leadership positions at your own company and throughout their entire career. 

  • Actively create a culture that affirms and values all expressions of identity. 

Anti-Blackness in Pride Month 

While Black and Brown activists were integral in the founding of Pride, many corporations still see White queer people as the face of Pride Month. And within Pride Month celebrations, Black queer and trans people often don’t feel included or welcomed at mainstream events. 

Black liberation and queer liberation are inextricably linked. Addressing both anti-Black racism and homophobia, and how the two intersect, can lead to greater inclusion of the Black LGBTQ+ people on your team. Culturally-specific Pride Month engagements and longer-term strategies in your DEI plan can lead to deepened affirmation and visibility for the Black queer and trans people on your team. 

This Pride Month and beyond, ShiftEd Consulting is here to strategically guide your company into a more inclusive and equitable working environment. Schedule a consultation to begin your journey today! 

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