Author: TL McMinn
For folks on the LGBTQ2SIA spectrum, June is an important month. June marks what is commonly considered the beginning of the Gay Pride Movement in North America, with the anniversary of the Stonewall riots on June 28, 1969. From when Stormé DeLarverie, a mixed-heritage butch drag king, screamed “Why don’t you guys do something?” as she was being thrusted into a police wagon, her head bloodied from being hit with a baton, to when Marsha P. Johnson, a trans, Black, drag queen, threw the shot glass that is said to have ‘shook the world’, the impact that these individuals had on the lives of LGBTQ2SIA individuals today can still be felt.
The following year, on June 28, 1970, the first Gay Pride March, called “Christopher Street Liberation Day,” occurred from the Stonewall Inn to Central Park in New York City. From there the fire spread, and now in 2021 more than 150 celebrations and organised Pride Marches throughout the world.
It is important to remember, however, that this day was not one of celebration, and it was not simply the beginning of something. It was also the end of something – it was the end of our tolerance for discrimination, for pain, and to the exile we were forced to live. It was the end of internalised hatred, and it was the end of Them vs. Us. From then on, we shifted the narrative, we were finally able to stand up and say “no more,” we made it Us vs. Them. We began articulating what we needed and what we wanted, and that we would not settle for less.
June 28th, 1969 was an integral day in our LGBTQ2SIA history, but it isn’t the only one, and the fight for equality isn’t over. Only 6% of all the world’s countries mention sexual orientation in their constitutions. There are still over 70 countries that criminalise LGBTQ2SIA behaviour, with 11 countries still enforcing the death penalty, and 37 countries around the world have de facto criminalisation of trans people. In the US, only 40% of states have laws opposing discrimination against LGBTQ2SIA people.
It is important that every person that works in your organization understands what it means to contribute to an inclusive workplace, and what it means to celebrate Pride.
With the Covid-19 pandemic still affecting many parts of the world, feeling connected to one’s community is more essential than ever. And although our fight is far from over, we need to remember to celebrate and immortalise those that fought for us, those that continue to fight, and our own victories.
While some communities will be able to safely gather in person, we are sharing some ways you can continue to show your pride while working from home. And remember, it is just as important for Allies of the LGBTQ2SIA community to showcase their Pride; sometimes we need a reminder on who we can depend on.
Ways to celebrate Pride virtually ‘in office’
Wearing Pride colors and/or decorating your office space can be tricky depending on where you work, but wearing triangles or rainbow earrings or sporting a rainbow flag lapel pin are really subtle ways one can show their support for LGBTQ2SIA employees and community.
Virtual Pride Support
Don’t own any rainbow? That is what makes working from home great! Just showcase your Pride/allyship with a fun rainbow background during your virtual meetings. Doing something simple like this can really help let employees know whom they can go to when or if they need assistance and don’t feel comfortable approaching someone they don’t know. A rainbow background on your monitor is the equivalent to a rainbow flag or a ‘safe space’ sticker on your office door.
Organizing get-togethers outside of work are great ways to increase employee and company morale, promote creativity, and help to create more focused teams. Not being able to do these types of activities in person shouldn’t stop you from hosting these important events. Pride-themed games (trivia, bingo) are great ways to engage your employees while also learning something new.
You can also all watch (funny, informative, intense) LGBTQ2SIA movies. Try having a Q&A afterward to stimulate conversation and further reflection. Some of my favorites are listed below:
- Priscilla Queen of the Desert
- Paris is Burning
- Watermelon Woman
- But I’m a Cheerleader!
- The Death and Life of Martha P. Johnson
- Love, Simon
- The Birdcage (original French, or English remake!)
- Pose (TV show)
- The L Word (TV show)
- Imagine Me and You
- A Secret Love
- Kinky Boot
Donating to LGBTQ2SIA charities/community organisations is a great way to show your commitment to being a LGBTQ2SIA ally, but it also allows for further growth within your company. To get you started I’ve included a list of some great Canadian and American LGBTQ2SIA Charities that would love your support:
- Rainbow Railroad: Helping lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT) people as they seek safe haven from state-enabled violence, murder or persecution.
- Egale Canada Human Rights Trust: Egale is working to improve and save LGBTQI2S lives through research, education, awareness, and by advocating for human rights and equality.
- Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youth Line: Confidential, Non-judgemental & Informed LGBTTQQ2SI Peer Support
- ACT: ACT is a non-profit organization that provides free programs and services for those living with, affected by and are at-risk of HIV.
- For more: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/explore/charities/category/social-services/sub-category/lesbian-gay-bi-trans-queer/
- United States:
- GLSEN: GLSEN is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for all students.
- Transgender Law Center: Transgender Law Center changes law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression.
- The Trevor Project: The Trevor Project is the leading and only accredited national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people under the age of 25.
- For more: https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=5013
This is also a great time to evaluate (or create) a DEI policy for your business. Having a strong stance on DEI concerns affirms your commitment to all marginalized groups. At Lunaria Solutions, we are here to help you, regardless of where you are in your DEI journey, and are happy to help with your next steps.
Training and Workshops
Training and workshops surrounding LGBTQ2SIA concerns, empowers all to unite under a common goal – eradicating workplace discrimination. Having training or workshops that focus on underrepresented groups is an important way to show that you care about those employees and that you recognize that there is a need for change. Lunaria Solutions has teamed up with OK2BME to provide 4 (FREE) Lunaria Education Units on gender and sexuality: https://lunariasolutions.com/blog-post/lunarialearnsok2bme/
The most important thing about celebrating Pride at work is that no one should feel excluded and everyone should be comfortable, because Pride is for everyone, and everyone has a reason to celebrate. And remember the official chant of the first Christopher Street Liberation Day: “Say it loud, gay is proud!”