Danni Rush, Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Incentives and Virgin Experience Days and Virgin Experience Gifts, speaks about the importance of celebrating and supporting the LGBTQ+ community all year round.
The annual celebration of Pride Month shows how far society has come. Not only does Pride highlight the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community and its acceptance in society, but it also celebrates it with huge parades that takeover city centres, LGBTQ+ workshops, themed parties, talks and concerts. The celebrations are endless across the UK during Pride Month, and the business world should follow suit.
It’s great to see businesses increasingly embracing the LGBTQ+ community and going above and beyond to celebrate its culture during Pride Month. However, it’s crucial that business leaders are supporting LGBTQ+ employees, regardless of the time of year.
Pride is not just a month – it’s an endless conversation
To understand its year-round importance, business leaders should first focus on the fact Pride originated from a discussion around the LGBTQ+ community’s challenges. Pride was born out of struggle.
Businesses that communicate their support during Pride are also showing that they recognise the struggle the community’s gone through, and perhaps some of their own employees.
HR teams should consider initiatives that can happen throughout the year to ensure people are always aware of the struggles some LGBTQ+ people still face. Not only this, but such initiatives will help employees who are a part of the LGBTQ+ population feel supported all year round. Employers should see Pride Month as an extension of what they’re already doing in the space, not an opportunity to align with popular culture.
How to celebrate pride all year round
It’s obvious some celebrations may seem more ‘fun’ than others – especially during Pride Month when there are a lot of cultural experiences taking place.
One way of celebrating Pride all year is by inviting members of the LQBTG+ community into the office (or Zoom) to talk to employees about their personal experiences. You could even link these talks to other important calendar dates, such as International Women’s Day or Black History Month. This could shine a light on different people’s experiences who are LQBTQ+ as well as a member of other groups.
Alternatively, businesses could look to support a charity with a cause to help the LGBTQ+ community and host charitable events and fun team treats throughout the year to help raise money. Not only is this keeping Pride at the front and centre of all employees’ minds, all year round, but it’s also helping to provide additional funding and support for the cause.
Employers could also look at amending their current HR policies and ensure they’re inclusive of LGBTQ+ employees. For example, offering adoption leave or extended paternity leave for LGBTQ+ couples is one idea.
Business leaders need to think of the LGBTQ+ community and its needs all year round and work to introduce policies and initiatives that embrace and support the work the LGBTQ+ community is doing.