We may have turned the page on Pride Month 2021, but there’s an entire book to be written.
It’s impossible to encapsulate the history and diversity of the LGBTQIA+ community in just one month. Doing so would diminish the progress we’ve made, and distract from the progress we still seek.
Instead, we invite you to learn more about Pride and continue to support the community year-round. Here’s what a few PI employees—some named, some anonymous—had to say about Pride and its lasting importance:
On the importance of Pride
“Pride is a time to learn about and show respect and appreciation for LGBTQ+ history. It’s also an opportunity for the community to celebrate important milestones—whether personal or collective—and support one another.”
“Pride means something completely different to all LGBTQIA+ individuals. For me, Pride Month is a time to be thankful for being comfortable in my own skin.
It took me 22 years to be OK with who I am as a queer woman, and I have my first pride celebration to thank for that. It was the first time that I saw so much love within the LGBTQIA+ community, and so many individuals coming together to support one another.”
– Ryan Donnelly-Brelling (she/her), PI Consultant
“I am not proud because I am gay; I am proud because I survived. I put on my armor and marched my way through life, pushing out everyone who got near me until I made it to a place I realized was safe. And there, I thrived.”
– Curtis Creekmore (he/him), People Operations Specialist
>> Read Curtis’s full piece on Pride.
On celebrating and honoring Pride
“Let your queer family, friends, and colleagues know that you support them! Do what you can to educate yourself and eradicate false assumptions instead of expecting someone else to do so for you. Remember that although Pride is fun for everyone, it is a celebration for the LGBTQIA+ community, not just a big party.”
– Dr. Ali Siminovsky (she/her), Director of Product Science
“Donate to LGBTQ+ organizations. GLAD, glaad, The Trevor Project, the Transgender Law Center, the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, HRC Corporate Equality Index… There are SO many more. Find a good one (make sure your money goes where they say it will) and get involved or donate.”
“Educate yourself on the history and on current laws that need to change, and make sure your loved ones feel seen.”
On being an active ally—today, tomorrow, and always
“It’s sadly still considered taboo to disclose your status at work. Some folks interpret it as disclosing something sexual or inappropriate, which is both demeaning and other-ing. When a co-worker reveals to you they’re part of the community (whether directly or indirectly), don’t start asking questions—treat it as you would a straight female colleague talking about her husband.”
“Don’t make assumptions about a community or identity just because you’ve met one of us. We all have different perspectives and experiences.”
“Celebrate and advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community year-round. Educate yourself, learn about the history of pride, donate to organizations, and show that you are an active ally. Let the people around you know you are an ally and ready to support them.
Remember that just because something doesn’t affect you personally, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t support it. Put yourself in the shoes of the LGBTQIA+ community and imagine: What would it be like if you had to ‘come out’ about your identity? And then do that over and over again? What would it be like to live in fear when you are in a new place or around new people? What if you had to worry about losing your right to marry the person you love or support at any moment?”
“Do the work. Research companies you give your money to. Vote for people who support us. Share your pronouns. Practice using they/them or other neopronouns. Donate to LGBTQ+ organizations. Be open minded. Defend our community, even if we’re not there to hear/see it. Follow LGBTQ+ people on social media. Google the dos and don’ts. Learn the language and be OK if it changes. Understand the emotional labor we invest every time we have to explain and validate our existence.”
Support takes more than a logo.
When June ends, the world tends to forget. The “rainbow wave” found on company pages and social media feeds reverts to grayscale. LGBTQ+ rights take a backseat to the next headline or brand campaign.
But progress can’t be achieved in a month. And it certainly doesn’t start and stop with a logo.
Last week, PI had the privilege of welcoming Megan Doherty-Baker (she/her) and Dr. Onllywn Cavan Dixon (he/him) | (they/them), both Directors of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Year Up, for a candid conversation on how to continue the conversation around identity in the workplace. For them, building an environment of inclusion, safety, and belonging starts with curiosity—and courage.
Dr. Onllywn explained how, as an organization, it’s important to foster a workplace where intersectionality is valued and respected. And that only happens when employees are vulnerable with one another and come to work each day with an open heart and mind. To quote them, it’s all about “listening to be transformed.”
While it’s OK and even encouraged to ask questions, remember that it’s not the responsibility of the LGBTQIA+ community to educate allies or share about their own lived experiences. These conversations often require a lot of emotional labor and can even cause traumatic experiences to resurface. There are plenty of resources and subject matter experts available online that can provide great information and next steps—so you and your organization can act on them.
Be brave. Take action.
Taking action can be daunting. But being an ally isn’t about having all the answers, all the time. It’s about having the courage to admit you don’t know something, so you can further your learning—and inspire others to follow suit.
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Featured image by Dayne Topkin.