Beyond Rainbows in June: Celebrate PRIDE and Inclusion Year-Round

It’s a beautiful thing to see so many organizations celebrating Pride and to hear from queer and trans folks about how supported they feel, especially if they are older or from rural areas where public displays have been less common.

Putting up a flag or a vibrant rainbow display is a great first step to show that you are aware that queer people exist and that you have positive feelings about them, and displays become more meaningful when there is intentional action behind them.

If your organization or office is thinking about or has posted a display or message, here are a few things to address:

Climate

  1. What training do all of your staff (including leadership and front line) complete, to learn about queer and trans folks (and many other) identities and how to create affirming and inclusive workplaces?
  2. Do your policies specifically protect against discrimination of queer and trans folks?  Are reporting processes well known and accessible? Are reports taken seriously?
  3. Do your uniform or workplace dress expectations allow for trans or non-binary gender expression?
  4. Do you model use of and invite employees to share their pronouns on emails, nametags, in newsletter/website bios, or when introducing themselves?
  5. Do you support employees in participating in PRIDE or other important celebrations?
  6. In work celebrations where families or partners are welcome, would employees (who may identify as poloyamous) feel that they can show up authentically and bring their partner(s) and families?
  7. When you invite employees to bring partners or families to work celebration, consider that some of your employees might come from a family with multiple adult partners/parents.

Benefits

  1. Does your insurance cover gender affirmation surgery, hormones, counseling, and related needs?
  2. Do you provide parental or bereavement leave that is inclusive or a variety of familial  configurations?
  3. Does the insurance plan your company selects provide sex specific preventative services?
  4. Do medical leave account for staff who may have two parents of the same gender or more than two parents?

Hiring

  1. Do your hiring committees strategize ways to reduce bias in the job search and interviewing process?
  2. Do your job applications need to collect information about gender or salutation?  If so, do they allow for a diversity of options, beyond the binary?
  3. Do you recruit from queer and trans folks affiliated organizations?
  4. Do you hire queer and trans folks, welcome their self expression, support them through policies, mentorship, and accessible leadership?

Leadership

  1. Do leaders welcome feedback and model accountability and transparency when they miss the mark on creating an inclusive and affirming environment through policies or microaggressions?
  2. Are your business efforts informed by folks in the queer and trans community who are compensated for their expertise?
  3. Does your leadership team and does your advisory board include queer and trans folks who are compensated for their leadership expertise and time?

Marketing

  1. Does your marketing show a variety of relationship types and gender identities?
  2. Do you address potential customers in a way that recognizes they might not identify along a gender binary?
  3. Do your products need to be grouped along a gender binary?  If not, consider grouping by function, this can be a way to show non-binary or gender non-conforming you recognize their identities.

Space

  1. Do you have signifiers (flags, statements, etc) in your store/office and on your website that show queer and trans folks they are welcome?
  2. Being “a place for all people” can sound like a hollow promise.  It can be more precise to present as a queer affirming place, and to be specific about what actions your team is taking to create such a space or services.
  3. Does your building offer gender inclusive restrooms?  These can be single or multi user. If transforming a previously designated men’s room, don’t forget to include in-stall disposal areas for tampons or pads.

Inclusion

  1. Being queer or trans is something that happens year round!  How might you signal support and inclusion year round?
  2. People are never just one identity, but rather an intersection of identities.  As you consider ways to show up and mark inclusion for queer and trans people, reflect on what you do to demonstrate inclusion for people of color, people with disabilities, people of historically marginalized religious affiliations and other historically marginalized identities.

Participating in training, reflecting on how your organization is showing up, and making informed efforts to create an inclusive space goes a long way in helping your employees and the folks you serve feel affirmed, safe, and welcome.