Pride is everywhere come June. Pride Month is celebrated by millions of LGBTQ+ people and their allies around the world with parades, parties, festivals, picnics and much more. It’s a time where we celebrate the progress made in the 50+ years since Stonewall, while also reminding us of the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ+ rights. As National Pride Month becomes bigger, focusing on promoting awareness and understanding, it is clear there is still work to do.
It’s important to note that while Pride is the conversation starter, going beyond Pride Month is about maintaining a consistent dialogue that creates ways to discuss, support, and learn. Progress beyond Pride is about being inclusive in everyday practice. In business. In your community. To change your mindset, commit to being open, and not being afraid to listen to and support experiences that are different from your own.
While the LGBTQ+ community has made remarkable strides in the last 50 years, there are many states where LGBTQ+ people are still not given protection for certain rights in schools, during medical treatment, and in public or personal situations. There also continues to be violence and/or bullying in some areas—in particular against transgender women of color and non-binary people. These facts show there is still work to do, and only when people are comfortable talking about their experiences and who they are will we make progress beyond Pride. Let’s look at some small yet powerful ways to make a difference starting right now.
1. Commit to Learning
Take time yourself to learn about LGBTQ+ identities. While you can always ask questions of the LGBTQ+ people you know, it’s even better to take the time on your own to learn, versus putting the burden on them. From guides to pronouns to how to be an ally, there are many resources that will help you further your education.
2. Show Your Support
Whether that’s when someone comes out to you or through your social media channels, showing your love and support can simply tell LGBTQ+ people that you love them and are proud of them for who they are. On social media it can be as simple as including your pronouns in your bios or spreading positive information or stories throughout the year. When it comes to being an ally, while there’s no clear cut way to approach it, the most important part is to always show love, attention and respect. Don’t be afraid to ask their pronouns, or what you can do to support them on their journey or make them feel more comfortable. And always provide a safe place to listen without judgment.
3. Donate or Volunteer Your Time
LGBTQ+ organizations, even the large ones, need help. Consider donating your time to help staff phone, text or chat lines or support at events for organizations such as The Trevor Project, GLAAD, Trans Lifeline and others. Even if you donate money (even a donation as little as $10 a month can help), or become a member, it can go a long way in supporting ongoing efforts and education.
4. Do Your Part in Business
As a business owner, you can show your support in ways that will not only make a difference, but will show your true level of commitment. It’s easy to support Pride during the month of June with merchandise and products, but think about going beyond what could be considered just a marketing ploy and demonstrate a year round commitment. Some ways you can show your support include:
- Create a safe workplace for employees and customers with inclusive policies, equal benefits, and supporting LGBTQ+ groups.
- Make sure your leadership team supports your efforts. Equality needs to begin at the top.
- Train your staff on diversity and inclusion. Add gender pronouns to your name tags.
- Volunteer as a company or provide employees with paid volunteer hours.
- Declare that you are “Open to All” and join this non-profit movement fighting to build a nation where all are welcome.