Ensuring support for members of the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and more) community, particularly in the workplace, is of utmost importance. As we spend a significant portion of our day at work, it is crucial for everyone to feel secure and accepted. Organizations should take the initiative to broaden their policies, procedures, and benefits to foster inclusivity for the LGBTQIA+ community. Additionally, co-workers and supervisors can contribute by engaging in personal acts that promote inclusivity on a daily basis. Here are some tips to consistently improve your role as an ally in your workplace.
Office Expression: Leaders and colleagues must encourage each other to create a safe and welcoming workspace for individuality. What this means will vary for each person, but some examples include displaying pictures of loved ones or partners or hanging up pride flags in their office space. While the rainbow flag is the most well-known, there are now over 30 different flags that each holds their own powerful meaning – it’s worth taking the time to learn about them. While it’s common for people to decorate their workspace for holidays, displaying decor that is more personal and meaningful to specific communities may not be as widely accepted.
Lunch and Learns: JOHNLEONARD has recently integrated (completely optional) lunch and learn sessions. These lunches occur almost every month, providing a valuable opportunity to gain insights and expand knowledge on important DEI topics. Last month’s topic was Allyship in the Workplace 101. Attending these events, especially if your company offers them, is a great way to embrace the learning process. Personally, I find these lunches helpful in terms of my own self-evaluation.
LGBTQIA+ Business Support: When organizing work events and gatherings, take a stand and suggest LGBTQIA+-owned businesses and venues. In doing so, you are boosting business recognition for these places, which could also inspire other companies to do the same. Some of my favorite Boston LGBTQIA+ hot spots that I recommend include Club Cafe, Dorchester Brewing Company, and South End Boston Chops. Additionally, many restaurants, bars, and venues in Boston show their support for LGBTQIA+ rights by displaying pride flags in their windows or on their walls. These locations are considered LGBTQIA+ friendly and aim to create a supportive, respectful, and non-judgmental environment toward the LGBTQIA+ community.
In conclusion, there is no single “right” way to be an ally, but all that matters is that YOU remain committed to your personal progress. Embracing individuality, fostering learning opportunities, and supporting LGBTQIA+ establishments can all play a part in cultivating a more inclusive working environment. Your voice is powerful and has the potential to positively impact the lives of others in ways you may not even realize. You could be why someone smiles and inspire them to look forward to work. So remember, small actions can make a significant impact.
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