By Jimmy Schleisman:
I want to start this article off by saying YAS QUEEN IT’S PRIDE SEASON YAAAAAS!
One of my straight-ally friends asked me to elaborate on what exactly “Pride” is because, let’s be honest, the month-long observance goes by many aliases and it can get really confusing. Pride is the time of year we come together, not just as LGBTQ people, but as HUMANS, to show the world our colors. It’s about being unapologetic and confident about our diverse identities, sexualities and all-encompassing L-O-V-E.HAPPY #PRIDE! Read more on why LGBTQ #workplace inclusion is everything 🙂 Now where them rainbow margaritas at? Click To Tweet
All month long, the Pride festivities of June reflect our growth as one of the most diverse minorities in the U.S. The most important place to celebrate diversity? The workplace. Why? Because we all work, we all need to make money to support our families and we all want the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness.
Here are 3 stupid-simple reasons why LGBTQ diversity and inclusion efforts are important to your business:
1. We ARE diversity.
Taking a trip down history lane, Pride actually commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Inn Riots in Manhattan where a band of LGBTQ people fought back against a police raid of their beloved bar. In 1969, it was illegal for LGBTQ people to congregate in public – which included hanging out at bars. The Stonewall Inn was one such LGBTQ-friendly bar and was the target of police raids and, more importantly, police brutality. During a police raid on the night of June 28th, 1969, the LGBTQ community of The Stonewall Inn fought back, sparking riots throughout the city that lasted for three days. This event would become the beginning of the LGBTQ rights movement.
In essence, Pride is celebrating that movement. And while it’s easy to get caught up in rainbows, exciting parade activities and twirling on them haters like Beyoncé, Pride is more than just tutus, glitter and super delicious mixed drinks. With the last few years’ political and judicial steps backward, Pride’s importance is more relevant than ever. Especially in the workplace. But it’s more than just pride for LGBTQ employees; it’s about diversity, inclusion and above all: R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Do you want a legit diversity and inclusion policy in your workplace? Assign the first draft to someone who identifies as LGBTQ. Our community deals with discrimination on a daily basis. So we know how people want to be treated and can write out a thorough and inclusive policy that will make your business SHINE with the respect and dignity all employees deserve.
On top of that, our community is made up of people from all walks of life. We are a kaleidoscope of colors – a mix of all races, cultures and religions – and that’s what unifies us. We may have our differences, but we all make up our big, wonderful community as unique individuals. We are the physical embodiment of diversity.
2. You probably have some LGBTQ employees in your midst.
Not all employees broadcast their personal lives at work. It doesn’t necessarily mean LGBTQ employees are in the closet, it just means they keep their personal biz, well…personal. 23.8% of lesbian and gay employees and 48.8% of bisexual employees are not out to anyone at work. Speaking from personal experience, working in an environment that doesn’t guarantee you won’t be harassed at work can be nerve-wracking. I’m not saying LGBTQ people need to come out to their coworkers. I’m saying incorporating LGBTQ-friendly policies in the workplace like LGBTQ non-discrimination policies can help them feel more comfortable to express their personal sides, if they choose to do so, of course.
How can you reflect inclusivity in your environment? Treat people like people! 96% of Fortune 500 Companies that have internal policies which forbid LGBTQ discrimination state that their workplace policies have led to greater productivity and a general increase in overall morale.
Wait. So you’re telling me LGBTQ-inclusive policies improve employee morale AND productivity??? WHAAA-
3. All joking aside, we’re STILL fighting for equality.
This title doesn’t need an explanation, but I want to reiterate that LGBTQ people need to make money to live just like any other person on the planet. And while it would be great if everyone on the planet had enjoyable, well-paying jobs, there are currently no country-wide protections in place for LGBTQ people in the workplace. Meaning LGBTQ people are still fired to this day simply because they exist:
- In 28 states, you can get fired just for being lesbian, bisexual or gay.
- In 30 states, you can be fired for being transgender.
- Less than half of the US (22 states and the District of Columbia) prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity by statute.
With regards to the HR industry, it becomes increasingly difficult for LGBTQ people to show off our true talents as employees when we could be justly fired at any given minute simply for being who we are. HR pros from all across the industry talk (quite frequently) about how diverse teams make a more productive, more adept workforce. So why shouldn’t those teams include LGBTQ talent as well?
- 1 in 4 LGBTQ employees report experiencing employment discrimination in the last five years.
- Nearly 1 in 10 LGBTQ employees have left a job because the environment was unwelcoming.
- LGBTQ people in the closet at work are 73% more likely to say they’ll leave their companies within the next three years.
All that depressing data aside, the tide of change is still sweeping the US for the better! 71% of Americans support federal laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination in housing, public accommodations and jobs. When asked who they preferred to work with, 55% of Americans said they didn’t care about sexuality or gender expression. Being supported at work and welcomed by your boss and co-workers is good for employee morale because it creates greater job commitment, improved workplace relationships, increased job satisfaction and increased productivity among LGBTQ employees. Having support AND protections helps LGBTQ people feel welcome in their workplace because it eliminates the fear of suddenly getting fired for being LGBTQ.
To summarize these thoughts, diversity and inclusion business practices can’t truly be diverse and inclusive unless they include EVERYONE. No single group of people is more valuable than another because all talent has value. Making all groups feel welcome is the true key to success, and that’s what Pride is all about for LGBTQ people.
Hope is alive and well y’all, and the future is hecka bright. There’s always a storm before a rainbow.