Every June, companies celebrate Pride Month
with parades and parties with rainbow flags
. It's a month when companies can reflect and reinvigorate to continue the fight for LGBTQ+ rights.
Studies show that when companies truly do support the LGBTQ+ community, it benefits both the community and the company. The Human Rights Campaign's 2022 Corporate Equality Index
(CEI) quantified how inclusive organizations are of LGBTQ+ employees, reviewing non-discrimination policies, benefits for LGBTQ personnel and their families, and public commitments to LGBTQ equality. And the report suggests those that scored highly in the Index are also top-performers in their industries. Specifically, an impressive 91 percent of the Fortune 500 include gender identity protections in their nondiscrimination policies and another 66 percent of the Fortune 500 offer transgender-inclusive health care coverage.
But, as general support for LGBTQ+ rights grows, so does the corporate incentive for companies to position themselves as supporters by offering certain benefits without total buy-in. When Pride Month is over, LGBTQ+ employees still question: Is Pride Month anything more than a marketing ploy? If not, what will companies do to not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk and be consistent in their support of the community well beyond June?
We spoke with LGBTQ workers to share what they want to see companies start doing all year round. Here's what they had to say:
1. Implement strong anti-discrimination policies.
"They should first have some strong anti-discrimination policies in place for the hiring process," says Josh Griffiths, a PhD student. "There should be clear anti-harassment policies in place, too, once people are hired. LGBTQ+ folks are often targeted for workplace harassment. Something needs to be put in place to protect those employees who were fairly hired. I'm a cisgender, gay, white male, so I do have a lot of privilege in comparison to my LGBTQ+ family. There can be little things done for the rest of the spectrum that show me that a company really cares
— such as gender neutral bathrooms for employees and clients alike."
2. Offer support lines.
"I work for a gay friendly company," says Tyler, a tech consultant. "I like our chat channel. We have a designated LGBTQ+ room."
3. Host more events for the community and allies.
"I wish they would offer more sponsorships and events, such as happy hours and networking events after Pride month—on a regular basis," says Kyle, an environmental teacher.
4. Promote LGBTQ+ leaders.
"I want to see more open LGBTQ people in leadership roles," says Kelsey, a production assistant
. "When I see that, it's clearer that a company supports the community because it's willing to promote LGBTQ+ employees and have them as the faces of their leadership."
5. Practice what you preach.
"Companies should do more than just celebrate Pride if they actually want to support LGBTQ+ employees," says Daniela, who works in hospital administration. "It's great if they want to support Pride month and jump on that bandwagon, but it can't stop when June ends. These companies need to be cracking down on anti-discriminatory hiring processes, anti-discriminatory review processes and be working on diversity and inclusion programs. That said, just having a diversity and inclusion agenda isn't enough — they need to actually be exercising the practices they're preaching so there's actually no more discrimination against sexual orientation
This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist and an adventure aficionado with a keen cultural curiosity and an affinity for solo travel. She's an editor by day and a travel blogger at HerReport.org by night.
What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for LGBTQ+ employees and allies at work? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!