Pride Month and the Workplace

“Equality means more than passing laws. The struggle is really won in the hearts and minds of the community, where it really counts.”—Barbara Gittings, LGBT activist

June is recognized as Pride Month. It’s a time to honor and highlight the history, challenges, and achievements of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) community. More workplaces are incorporating Pride Month activities as part of their employee engagement strategy.

What is Pride Month?

Although Pride Month is now extensively celebrated worldwide, it was not always so. The history of Pride Month commemorates the Stonewall Uprising in New York City in 1969. The tragedy spawned a gay liberation movement and a call to action for lawmakers to grant equal rights to the LGBTQIA+ community.

Throughout the decades, widespread efforts have been made to end discriminatory workplace practices against the LGBTQIA+ community. A 2020 U.S. Supreme Court decision ruled that terminating employees because of their sexual orientation or gender identity is sex discrimination that violates federal law and is one of the most significant pieces of legislation passed that directly affects this group in the workplace. In 1996, the Canadian Human Rights Act was amended to include sexual orientation as a protected status. The Sex Discrimination Act of 1984 is upheld in Australia.

Now that you have a brief overview of the history of Pride Month, here are some ideas for incorporating it at work.

Pride Allies in the Workplace                    

Workplaces can host lunch and learns or offer information on local Pride events or workshops. You could even share personal pronouns in your email signature or social media profiles. Remember, some of your co-workers may not feel comfortable coming out at work. Having allies in the workplace could help them feel more comfortable while at work.

Wear or Decorate Rainbow Swag

The rainbow flag is the widely used symbol of the LGBTQIA+ community. The first Pride flag was designed by artist Gilbert Baker, a member for the LGBTQIA+ community in 1978. Consider wearing colorful attire or decorating your desk with the flag colors, it’s a great way to honor Pride Month.

Promote Pride Month through Social Media

The digital space is a great way to show pride. Consider updating your LinkedIn and other social media profiles with Pride frames or cover photos. Select a Pride-themed background for your virtual meetings while using Zoom or Teams.