Happy Pride Month! June is the dedicated month to celebrate LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, and asexual) culture and victories, uplift LGBTQIA+ voices, and support LGBTQIA+ rights and the ongoing pursuit of equal justice.
Being an LGBTQIA+ ally at work (and everywhere) helps create an inclusive and safe environment for EVERYONE. Harvard Business Journal describes allyship as, “A strategic mechanism used by individuals to become collaborators, accomplices, and coconspirators who fight injustice and promote equity in the workplace through supportive personal relationships and public acts of sponsorship and advocacy. Allies endeavor to drive systemic improvements to workplace policies, practices, and culture.”
To be a better ally (in and outside of the office) and promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, you need to do your part. Here are tips to help you be a proactive ally this month and all year round!
The history of Pride month
Have you ever wondered why June was chosen for Pride?
The month of June became dedicated to Pride month in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising that occurred in Manhattan, New York. On June 28, 1969, NYPD conducted a raid at a gay bar called the ‘Stonewall Inn’. Police raids were common at LGBTQIA+ friendly bars during this time but the Stonewall raid became the tipping point for the community. For the next six days, protestors stood outside of the bar expressing that they will no longer tolerate this harassment and intimidation. A year later in June 1970, gay rights activists started the first LGBTQIA+ parade through central park, honoring the Stonewall uprising. Since then, each June we take the month to look back and remember the importance of the Stonewall riots and continue to celebrate pride.
How to be a better ally
- Become familiar with common LGBTQIA+ terminology
There are a lot of different terms when it comes to discussing sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. To be a better ally, do educate yourself on what these terms mean and how to use them appropriately. Don’t rely on marginalized communities to educate you. With time and practice, it will feel more natural and comfortable when using different terms and definitions. Read the Human Rights Campaign’s Glossary of Terms to help familiarize yourself with common LGBTQIA+ terminology and to better understand each meaning.
- Be empathetic and accountable for your own implicit biases
Being respectful and showing your colleagues that you care makes all the difference. People will understand you may not be an expert in the LGBTQIA+ community but owning up to the fact that there is room for improvement, and you are willing to continue to learn is important. To be a strong ally, it’s okay to ask questions but avoid asking any inappropriate questions that might make someone uncomfortable answering. Be thoughtful with your words and empathetic.
- Keep celebrating after Pride month ends
Pride month is extremely monumental for the LGBTQIA+ community in furthering the fight for LGBTQIA+ equality, inclusion, and rights. Keeping the conversation going after the month of June is very important so that the momentum doesn’t stop. It’s important to continue to show support, observe, and be educated even when Pride is over!
Just simply listening and learning from your LGBTQIA+ colleagues and peers will make you a better ally to the community. Remember there’s always room for improvement, be patient with yourself as you continue to learn and grow!
Read our blog for tips on how your organization can embrace its LGBTQIA+ and gender-expansive employees!