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Your Queer Staff Wants More Than PRIDE Logos

At Intersections, we find that many organizations don’t know where to start, and in return — often remain stagnant while employees may be searching for active support and long-term action within their organization. 

Here’s a multiple choice question for you. During Pride Month, most or many organizations fall into the following pattern:

  1. Promoting LGBTQ+ support through a pride flag in their corporate logo for the month of June.
  2. Finding an internal authentic route to supporting LGBTQ+ community/employees. 
  3. Both
  4. None of the above. 

You might have chosen A because this is the actual change that we are used to seeing. 

This is just one of many examples of performative and proactive social justice practices within organizations. Companies are more likely to showcase their external support rather than work towards and encouraging space internally. We call this performative. 

The correct answer is D, none of the above. We’re doing the work, here is the qualitative and quantitative data to show it.

As a consulting firm, we engage in best practices with our clients to embed long term, data driven, Inclusive practices into the organization. If pride month comes around or any other holiday; they can share the work that they’ve been doing all year as opposed to changing their logo for a month (which is surprisingly costly). This money could be better used as a donation to a local LGBTQ+ center or program. If you have worked for an organization and shared these opinions, most likely you were met with leadership excuses. 

Leadership excuses for Proactive and long-term DEI Support may look like…

  • “We support everyone, we don’t want to only celebrate certain demographics
  • “We don’t see a problem. If you point it out and prove it to us, we’ll correct it.”
  • “It’s not actively happening but it happened in the past. Only 2 individuals within the company have reported this, and they are no longer here.”
  • “We just can’t support it within the budget right now”
  • “We can’t handle an internal uproar right now. We need to focus on attaining our goals this quarter.”
  • “If we hire more ____ folks, it will get better.”

The Reality for Leadership

The new generation of workers and consumers are looking for employers that invest in them and their values. Consumers are certainly becoming more aware and starting to choose more careers and products based on diversity and inclusion. We find that leadership practices should not only place value upon diversity and inclusion, but prioritize it as an organizational asset. 

“To engage a new generation of workers and consumers—many of whom choose careers and products based on diversity and inclusion—companies must move beyond public gestures of support for LGBTQ+ issues to create a more positive work experience.” (McKinsey, July 2020)

“If a company disengages or actively chooses to perform diversity and inclusion in impractical ways, they will lose.” – Adrienne & Brittany Glover

For marginalized employees, the silence often becomes numbing and often breeds the following emotions:

Employees Think:

  • “It will get better in time, I hope.”
  • “Someone will see it and help me.”
  • “They recognize and appreciate me showing up, while also appreciating my knowledge and skill set to code-switching.”
  • “How will discrimination and bias affect my career?”
  • “I am going to another company where I am valued.”

The Reality for Employees

  •  “I am going to another company where I am valued.”
  • “I am starting my own business where I and my staff value all employees.”

We’ve organized the top five things you can do now to plan more authentically for next year. 

  1. Ongoing Active Listening

What this looks like: Invest in understanding the demographics and pulse of the organization in order to best support the authentic individuals within the organization.

  1. Clear Policies and Procedures: 

What this looks like: Updated Anti-Discrimination policies, Diversified access to healthcare, and DEI value systems

  1.  Supportive statements for communities 

What this looks like: Employee Wellness Approach, Black Lives Matter and diversifying healthcare access  and support for LGBTQ+ employees and families.)

  1. Invest in Community Efforts that support your Company Values 

What this looks like: Show support through donation and highlighting local history

  1. Foster Gender-Neutral Environments 

What this looks like: Equal opportunity and workspaces for all genders

Now you have an entire year to put this into practice.

Our hope is that this brief article will help you refocus your efforts in educating and supporting not only your valued employees, but also those you do business with. 



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