How to Find ‘Strength in Solidarity’ and a Company That Supports You During Pride Month and Beyond

Sponsored by CGI

Lexie Floor. Photo courtesy of Lexie Floor.

Lexie Floor. Photo courtesy of Lexie Floor.

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June is Pride Month — but what does this mean? “Pride Month means embracing and celebrating my authentic self,” shares Lexie Floor, a videographer and digital marketing creative lead at CGI. Lexie is responsible for maintaining consistency in branding and assets for digital ads and social media.

Pride Month is “a powerful affirmation of my identity and a reminder that I am valid, worthy of love, and deserving of respect,” explains Floor. “It’s about standing tall and unapologetically expressing who I am, while also recognizing the struggles and achievements of the LGBTQ+ community. It's a time to come together, create visibility, and foster understanding and acceptance. It represents the resilience, courage, and unity that define our community as we continue to fight for equality, love, and the right to be our true selves.”

And, as a person who identifies as a lesbian, Floor has a few words of encouragement and advice that she’d like offer the LGBTQ+ community — especially those who are searching for an inclusive company:

  1. “First and foremost, remember that you deserve to work in an environment where you can bring your authentic self to the table. You have unique perspectives, talents, and experiences that deserve to be valued and celebrated.

  2. When seeking an inclusive company, look for clear indications of their commitment to diversity and inclusion. Research their policies, statements, and initiatives related to LGBTQ+ inclusivity. Look for companies that have explicit non-discrimination policies, inclusive benefits packages, and employee resource groups dedicated to LGBTQ+ issues.

  3. Trust your instincts during the application and interview process. Assess how the company responds to questions about diversity and inclusion. Pay attention to the language they use and how they address LGBTQ+ concerns. A company that genuinely values inclusivity will be transparent, supportive, and welcoming.

  4. Consider reaching out to current or former employees who identify as LGBTQ+ to gain insights into their experiences. Social media platforms, professional networking sites, or LGBTQ+ professional associations can be great resources to connect with individuals who can provide firsthand perspectives on the company's inclusivity.

  5. Lastly, don't be afraid to be your authentic self during the job search process. Your identity is an integral part of who you are and embracing it can lead to a fulfilling and successful career. Remember, the right company will appreciate and respect you for who you are.”

Floor also recognizes that the search for an inclusive employer can be challenging but encourages the LGBTQ+ community to remain “hopeful and persistent.” She shares, “There are organizations out there that are genuinely committed to creating inclusive and accepting workplaces. Keep seeking those companies and communities that will celebrate your unique identity and support your personal and professional growth. Stay true to yourself, and trust that the right company is out there, ready to welcome you with open arms.”

In this interview, Floor shares more about how individuals and companies can show solidarity in supporting the LGBTQ+ community, why CGI is a great example of an inclusive company, and much more. Read on for inspiration and advice…

Let’s begin by talking about the theme for Pride Month this year: What does “Strength in Solidarity” mean to you?

The theme, "Strength in Solidarity," holds deep significance for me. It signifies the power that comes from unity, support, and collaboration within the LGBTQ+ community and beyond. Strength in Solidarity means recognizing that our individual experiences and identities intersect and intertwine, creating a vibrant tapestry of diversity.

It means standing together, hand in hand, embracing our shared struggles and triumphs. It's a reminder that we are not alone in our journey and that our collective strength amplifies our voices and advocacy for equality. In a world where discrimination and prejudice still exist, strength in solidarity empowers us to face adversity head-on, united in our fight for acceptance, love, and equal rights.

It's about lifting each other up, celebrating one another's achievements, and providing support to those who need it most. It's a call to action, urging us to extend our solidarity to other marginalized communities, recognizing that our liberation is interconnected with theirs.

Strength in solidarity also means using our voices to create change. It's about being visible, speaking out against injustice, and educating others to foster understanding and empathy. It's about challenging societal norms and advocating for a world where every individual, regardless of their sexual orientation, can live authentically and without fear.

This inspires me to continue fighting for a future where diversity is not only accepted but embraced and celebrated. It fuels my determination to stand alongside my LGBTQ+ family, and, together, create a world where love, respect, and equality prevail.

What are five specific ways that allies can show solidarity?

  1. Educate yourself. Take the initiative to learn about different sexual orientations, gender identities, and the challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community. Read books, watch documentaries, and engage with credible resources to gain a deeper understanding of the issues at hand.

  2. Listen and validate. Actively listen to the experiences and perspectives of LGBTQ+ individuals without judgment or dismissal. Validate their feelings and acknowledge the struggles they face, creating a safe space for them to share their stories.

  3. Use the correct terminology. Familiarize yourself with appropriate and respectful language to describe sexual orientations, gender identities, and related concepts. Respect individuals' chosen pronouns and avoid assumptions or misgendering.

  4. Speak up against discrimination. Take a stand against any form of discrimination or prejudice you witness, whether it's in your personal life, workplace, or community. Use your voice to challenge harmful stereotypes, derogatory language, or exclusionary practices. 

  5. Support LGBTQ+ organizations. Show your solidarity by supporting and volunteering with local LGBTQ+ organizations, charities, and advocacy groups. Attend their events, donate to their causes, or offer your skills and time to help further their mission.

Remember, being an ally is an ongoing process of growth and support. It's important to continuously educate yourself, listen to the voices of the LGBTQ+ community, and take action to promote inclusivity, equality, and acceptance in your daily life.

What about on a company-wide level? What do you think other companies can learn from how CGI supports and shows solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community?

I'm grateful to be part of a company that wholeheartedly supports LGBTQ+ values. CGI not only supports LGBTQ+ employees but also advocates for positive change in the wider community. I'm proud to be part of a company that actively champions equality and embraces diversity. 

Here are my key takeaways on how other companies can learn valuable lessons from CGI:

  1. Leadership commitment. Demonstrate visible and genuine commitment from leadership to foster LGBTQ+ inclusivity. When leaders prioritize diversity and inclusion, it sets the tone for the entire organization and encourages others to follow suit.

  2. Clear policies and practices. Create transparent and well-communicated policies and practices that explicitly address LGBTQ+ inclusion. By establishing clear and comprehensive nondiscrimination policies that explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity, inclusive HR practices (including, but not limited to, policies related to hiring, promotion, dress code, benefits, and transitioning processes), and guidelines for respectful behavior, companies can create a supportive and inclusive environment for their employees. Also, consider offering gender-neutral restrooms and supporting medical benefits that cover gender-affirming treatments.

  3. Employee resource groups (ERGs). Encourage the formation of ERGs focused on LGBTQ+ inclusion, which can provide a valuable platform for networking, support, and advocacy. Other companies can learn from successful ERGs and consider implementing similar initiatives to amplify the voices and experiences of their LGBTQ+ employees. Companies should also remember to support ERG activities and initiatives, providing necessary resources and sponsorship.

  4. Diversity and inclusion training and education. Invest in diversity and inclusion training programs that specifically address LGBTQ+ issues. These programs can raise awareness, foster understanding, and equip employees at all levels with the knowledge and skills to create an inclusive workplace.

  5. Engagement with the LGBTQ+ community. Actively engage with the local LGBTQ+ community through sponsorships, partnerships, and collaborations to strengthen ties and demonstrate a genuine commitment to inclusivity within and beyond the workplace. Participating in Pride events (such as Pride Month, Transgender Day of Visibility, or LGBTQ+ history month), supporting LGBTQ+ charities, and volunteering can help companies build meaningful connections and contribute to positive change outside the workplace.

  6. Regular evaluation and improvement. Regularly assess progress and gather feedback from LGBTQ+ employees and community members. This feedback can help identify areas for improvement and guide the implementation of new initiatives or policies that further enhance inclusivity. To do so, it’s important to create opportunities for open dialogue and communication, allowing employees to express their thoughts and concerns.

  7. Authentic representation. Prioritize diverse and authentic representation of LGBTQ+ individuals in marketing and advertising materials. Representation matters. By promoting positive and realistic portrayals — and avoiding stereotypes — companies can foster a sense of belonging and build trust with the LGBTQ+ community.

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