This year, Pride takes a markedly different form from years’ past. Many of our traditional ways of recognizing Pride aren’t accessible due to COVID, and the inability to physically gather and congregate in queer-affirming spaces is a loss that’s deeply felt by a people for whom finding community has often proved critical.
And yet, the pandemic is a major reason why being intentional about recognizing Pride this year is more crucial than ever. In many ways, COVID has disproportionately impacted queer communities, and especially queer communities of color. On both the individual and company level, we have to demonstrate our understanding of the fact that Pride is more than an opportunity to throw parties and engage in corporate branding plays. It’s a time of reflection and of taking action to ensure that the world we’re creating is one that truly holds equal space for LGBTQ+ communities.
Below, here’s what eight companies are doing to ensure that Pride 2020 is amplified during this time of COVID — and not erased by it.
While folks may not be able to get together to celebrate this Pride Month, Seagate — which was named a 2020 Best Employer for LGBTQ+ Equality by the Human Rights Campaign — is embracing technology to make sure the celebration is just as impactful. Throughout the month of June, employees and members of its LGBTQ+ employee resource group (ERG) all over the world will be hosting and participating in a number of virtual events, including a talent show and rainbow flag raising livestream.
In addition, this June the company also launched its global Ally Training, reinforcing its culture of inclusion and commitment to continued learning.
In addition to providing coverage for services and surgeries that affirm employees’ gender identities, Capital Group also prioritizes inclusivity in its family-building benefits. For instance, the company has partnered with Progyny to support every employee’s unique path to parenthood, and all full-time and some part-time associates are eligible for adoption and surrogacy benefits, for up to $10,000 per child. In addition, Capital Group has doubled the number of free counseling visits it offers employees and their families — an important benefit to offer queer employees, especially, when it’s known that LGBTQ+ individuals are 2.5 times more likely to struggle with anxiety and depression compared to their hetero peers, according to 2019 data from the American Psychiatric Association.
Also in recognition of Pride month, Capital Group is offering its employees an array of online global events, an action-centered “Everyday Acts for Pride Month” calendar, and a dedicated resources page addressing topics like allyship, finances, healthcare, and parenting as it intersects with the LGBTQ+ community.
The tech company’s slate of Pride programming includes:
Celebrating the raising of Qualcomm’s Pride flag over email
A quiz night for its Cambridge, UK qQuality employee group
A video contest around the theme “What Pride Means to Me”
A virtual town hall and webinar from LGBTQ+ workplace equality org Out & Equal
A virtual drag BINGO night, hosted by Paris Sukomi Max, raising money for San Diego Pride
An LGBTQ+ history trivia night for San Diego employees
A webinar with Kristin Beck, a former Navy SEAL and civil rights activist
Pride kits sent to all of Qualcomm’s eQuality members
A virtual Pride dance party
A Pride webinar on diversity best practices
At PwC, the firm is committed to a culture of belonging where diverse individuals can form genuine communities, helping not only to maintain the progress they’ve made but also to accelerate it. PwC sees this Pride month as an opportunity for the firm to reinforce its commitment to marginalized communities and signal to society that although there has been progress made on the journey to confront bias, there is much more that we can do together to defeat it. Throughout June, PwC is using the #PwCPride hashtag on social media, promoting a video featuring the courageous coming-out stories of PwCers, highlighting its supportive benefits, and explaining how companies can support their people in bringing their whole selves to work. Additionally, PwC will be virtually celebrating Pride with online activities aimed at advocating, educating and entertaining, including a Pride trivia night, fundraising for AIDS/LifeCycle and streaming a Pride month webcast.
To virtually kick off Pride month, Ceridian employees heard actionable insights from the company’s Chief Human Resources Officer Susan Tohyama and leaders at CANVAS Arts Action Programs. The non-profit offers interactive training programs on LGBTQ+ inclusion in schools, summer camps, community spaces and workplaces, as well as trainings on gender equity and consent.
“It’s incredibly important for organizations to talk about diversity, about equality, about inclusion — and then do something about it, not just talk about it, “ Tohyama told employees. “Leaders have to look at all their programs and policies to make sure that everyone feels served, heard, protected, and included.”
This Pride month, T-Mobile is supporting its employees’ efforts to give back to the LGBTQ+ community by offering a 2:1 match for employee donations made to PFLAG, the largest LGBTQ+ family and ally organization in the U.S. But T-Mobile also understands that its investment in the LGBTQ+ community must extend beyond the month of June, as well. That’s why it offers six Diversity & Inclusion Resource Groups, with its Pride & Allies (PAN) network boasting more than 13,600 members in chapters spread across the country. Additionally, T-Mobile offers some standout benefits and medical coverage for its transgender team members. This includes: transportation and lodging coverage for gender-affirming medical services; surgery (top, bottom, hysterectomy, facial feminization and more); hormones; and behavioral health services.
Intersectionality was already a core focus at 3M and among its nine Employee Resource Networks (ERNs). But the Black Lives Matter movement has galvanized folks at 3M to take that focus even further.
“Recent events have crystalized, now more than ever, why rooting out injustice is a shared struggle in which we all must take action against,” 3M’s Pride ERN Chair, David Otero, shared. “Due to the pandemic, we fully expected Pride Month to feel different, but now our purpose for coming together takes on added meaning after the homicide of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the loss of countless other Black lives due to systematic injustices.”
Because of the importance of mental health advocacy for both the LGBTQ+ community and communities of color, 3M Pride is fundraising as a community for The Trevor Project in order to support the mental health of LGBTQ+ Black and Brown young people, Otero said. That comes in addition to some existing Pride initiatives — including raising the Pride flag at 3M’s global headquarters in Minnesota for the first time this year. The company has also started a new initiative to help 3Mers share their pronouns and gender identities, for all who are comfortable doing so, in both formal and informal ways.
In-person parades may have been canceled, but at Lockheed Martin, they’re still happening digitally! Employees were encouraged to wear Pride colors to the company’s virtual parade on June 21st in celebration. At Lockheed, there’s also a timely focus this Pride month on intersectionality, which has included a webinar for employees, “PRIDE Celebrates Black History.”