How to Support the LGBTQIA+ Community in the Workplace
Pride Month is the perfect time to come together to celebrate our differences and honor the bravery and sacrifices of those who have risked their lives for equality. Read on for a brief history of how Pride Month came to be, an introduction to gender identity, and some tips on how to support the queer community inside the workplace.
But first, a brief history
While streets all over the world fill with glitter and people wave flags in celebration, it’s important to understand and reflect on the liberation movement that started it all. Pride Month commemorates years of struggles for the queer community, and we would be remiss not to share a brief history behind the ongoing pursuit of equality.
Introduction to gender identity
Gender vs. Gender Identity. NPR cites gender as often defined as a social construct of norms, behaviors, and roles that varies between societies and over time. Gender is often categorized as male, female, or nonbinary. Gender identity is one’s own internal sense of self and their gender, whether that is man, woman, neither, or both.
Gender Pronouns. To put it simply, Mary Emily O’Hara, communications officer at GLAAD, says “pronouns are basically how we identify ourselves apart from our name. It’s how someone refers to you in conversation.” Recognizing and using a person’s correct pronouns lets them know that you accept and respect their identity.
Promoting inclusion in the workplace
The LGBTQIA+ community has come a long way in the past few decades, but it’s important to recognize that biases still exist. Here are some ways you can promote inclusion and diversity in the workplace.
- Share your pronouns in your email signature. As an ally, you can lead the change by sharing your pronouns in your digital email signature (and across your social media accounts, like LinkedIn). This helps to normalize and create a safe space for communicating an individual’s pronouns with those you work with in an informative way.
Here are a couple examples of how to include your gender pronouns in your email signature:
- Be mindful of gendered language. All too often, we may find ourselves throwing out phrases like “Good morning, ladies!” or “Great meeting, guys!” When in doubt, stay gender neutral and prioritize gender equality over being grammatically correct.
- Normalize asking for pronouns when you first meet someone. Likewise, introduce yourself and your preferred pronouns to break the ice. Example: you might say something like, “Hello, my name is Tyler and I identify as he/him. May I ask how you prefer to be addressed?” And if someone corrects you on their pronouns, simply apologize, thank them for correcting you, and remember it for the next time. Don’t make a bigger deal than it needs to be.
- Educate yourself. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we have to understand all sides of everyone’s struggles and privileges. Before you can consider yourself an ally, educate yourself on the issues that the LGBTQIA+ community faces so you can use your voice in the most supportive way.
Here are some helpful resources to get you started:
- Buffer – 50+ Resources for LGBTQIA allies
- Green Matters – Pride Month: 10 Facts About the Important Holiday, and Why It’s a Protest, Not a Party
- NPR – A Guide to Gender Identity Terms
Advocating for the LGBTQIA+ community goes beyond Pride Month
Remember, there are many gay rights events happening throughout the year – Pride is just one of them! You can continue advocating for LGBTQIA+ rights by recognizing commemorative days including (but not limited to) the following:
- International Transgender Day of Visibility (March 31)
- International Family Equality Day (first Sunday in May)
- International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (May 17)
- National Coming Out Day (October 11)
How Brunner embraces and values diversity
At Brunner, we like everyone, so we are an equal opportunity employer. We do not consider race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, age, sex, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or veteran status when deciding to hire someone. We just want you to be you.