Observing Pride Month in the Workplace
June 10, 2021
Pride Month commemorates the Stonewall Uprising on June 28th, 1969, when six undercover officers raided a gay club called the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village in New York City. The police alleged the raid was due to the bar operating with an improper liquor license. Still, in truth, it was an excuse to violently assail and arrest employees and patrons in a place that served as a haven for the city’s gay, lesbian, drag queen, and cross-dressing community. While incidents like this were common and had been occurring for decades, The Stonewall Uprising was one of the first times the patrons defended themselves and refused to be intimidated. As police violently hauled customers and employees out of the bar, a riot broke out, leading to six days of protests and clashes with law enforcement. In 1970, on the first anniversary of the uprising, thousands marched in the first New York City Pride March. These events were a turning point for LGBTQ+ rights in the United States.
Today, Pride Month celebrates equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community and allows us to recognize these individual’s impact on history, locally, nationally, and internationally. Throughout the month, people celebrate through various events such as festivals, concerts, and workshops. However, large city parades are generally the most visible elements of Pride Month at workplaces in the United States, Canada, England, Australia, Greenland, Brazil, and Hungary.
But what about in the Workplace? If your organization would like to observe Pride Month, promote inclusion and diversity, and support your LGBTQ+ employees, there are ways that you can do this both in person and in virtual offices.
Zoom Pride Backgrounds
You can replace your usual Zoom backdrop with a colorful tribute to Pride Month. This is an easy way to show your coworkers that you support the LGBTQ+ community and want to celebrate the month with them.
On top of that, this will make your LGBTQ+ employees feel better. They will feel comfortable to know that their workplace is happy to celebrate pride month even when everyone is working from home.
It’s a shame that many LGBTQ+ individuals cannot celebrate their identity by joining the parade due to the pandemic. Making them feel better by giving the virtual workplace a pride theme is the least you can do.
Bingo can be a fun in-person or video call game for any occasion. You can create bingo cards with randomized squares, send them to employees over email, and play in groups in the office or your main room on zoom. For larger teams, you can separate groups into breakout rooms to play.
This is not only an entertaining activity to do but also a great way to bring LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ employees closer. Despite a lot of traction in the 21st century, the LGBTQ+ movement is not widespread enough. Doing such activities in your workplace helps.
Pride Month Trivia
Pride month trivia is a great way to provide colleagues with the opportunity to learn and bond. A host can guide teams through a series of questions that celebrate LGBTQ history and pop culture, and the victors can win prizes, badges in Recognize, or bragging rights. You can even use Kahoot! to create, share, and play the trivia.
This serves a great purpose indeed. Pride month trivia encourages the employees to learn more about the movement’s history and understand the struggles LGBTQ+ people had to go through over the years. It will help the non-LGBTQ+ employees to realize the importance of the gay pride parade.
Here are some examples of questions and answers and some facts you can use:
- Buzzfeed – How Well Do You Understand Gay Pride?
- Metro – Pride Quiz Questions and Answers
- The Ultimate Pride Quiz
- Mental Floss – Pride Month Facts
- Pop Buzz – How well do you know LGBTQ+ history?
- Pride – 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Pride
When creating Pride Month Bingo or Pride Month Trivia, it can be helpful to focus on facts instead of stereotypes to make sure that you are being inclusive.
Pride is just as much about education as a celebration. One of the most meaningful ways to recognize the month is to host LBGTQ+ history sessions.
The actual objective of the pride parade is to let others know that gay people are not holding onto an identity that should be frowned upon. Instead, they are regular human beings who are proud of their sexuality. An education session in your office or virtual workspace boosts the purpose of pride month in many ways.
You could invite a guest speaker or watch a documentary together. The guest speaker can talk about the history of the movement and also share their own experiences. Your employees may ask questions to the guest speaker to get rid of any confusion they may have about the gay pride parade.
Here are some helpful resources:
Offer Pride Playlists
Consider compiling a list for coworkers of music by allies or queer artists or songs that speak to the LGBQT+ experience. One of the best things that happened in the digital age is gay icons spreading their work worldwide. Some of their tracks educate people while being entertaining at the same time.
For example, in their legendary music video of ‘I want to break free’, Queen members dressed up in drag. This song is one of the greatest hits from the band and raised awareness about the LGBTQ+ movement in the west.
You can include hits by gay icons like Madonna, Queen, or Cher and drag show favorites such as Lady Gaga, RuPaul, or Diana Ross. You can even solicit employees for their suggestions. Here are some examples:
Support an LGBTQ+ Business
One way to support the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month is to patronize LGBTQ+ businesses. You could order food from an LGBTQ+-run restaurant or bakery, book an LGBTQ+ artist for online performance, or purchase gifts for prizes from and LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs.
For a long time, LGBTQ+-owned businesses were ignored due to bigoted stereotypes. Helping these businesses as much as possible might not cover the damages the community had to face for so many years, but it sure helps. And what can be a better occasion to help an LGBTQ+-owned business than pride month?
It helps your workplace in different ways. Buying from LGBTQ+ businesses encourages your LGBTQ+ employees to become more loyal to the company. In addition, the non-LGBTQ+ employees get to know how promising these businesses are.
Another meaningful way to celebrate and support Pride Month is to make a company donation to an LGBTQ+ charity. You can either do this by making one large donation on the company’s behalf or offer to match individual employee contributions up to a specified amount.
A few organizations work relentlessly to ensure the rights of LGBTQ+ people in different corners of the world. Though we don’t like it, there are many areas where gay people are still subjected to oppression, and their voices are not heard. Donating to charity to observe pride month can help these people.
Here is a helpful list of charities you can donate to:
Rainbow Emojis in Slack
Creating emojis in Slack is easy and a fun way to celebrate Pride Month. Simply create some rainbow graphics such as pride flags and rainbow hearts, then add the emojis to Slack using this tutorial.
Pride Month Emails
Maybe the easiest and least expensive way to honor pride month in the workplace is to send a special email to staff. The email can include historical facts, fundraisers, links to educational material, important resources, quotes, and profiles of LGBTQ+ figures.
Even though it’s the most accessible and most affordable way, it can play a crucial role in making your workplace more welcoming towards the LGBTQ+ community. When emails are sent from the official account of the workplace, employees are very likely to read them. This is an excellent method to educate those employees about the LGBTQ+ movement who don’t get the chance to get educated by themselves.
- Online Parade
- Blog Posts
- Book Clubs
- Watch Parties
- Virtual Happy Hour
- Employee Resource Groups
Do not force employees to participate
While Pride is about inclusion and togetherness, it’s essential to respect all team members’ feelings and beliefs. Forcing participation can be counterintuitive to the cause. Some employees may come from cultural backgrounds or carry religious beliefs that conflict with Pride. Some employees may be private and prefer to keep their home and work lives separate, and for some, love life and sexuality is personal. Forcing those employees to participate will make them feel uncomfortable, and they might even blame the gay employees of the workplace for that.
Avoid stereotypes and tokenism
LGBTQ+ culture carries cliches like any other culture. It’s important to remember that the LGBTQ+ community is diverse. While there may be shared experiences or characteristics within the community, it’s important to remember that individuals experience and express themselves differently. Try to avoid making assumptions or generalizations that might offend or alienate your LGBTQ+ staff. Trying to paint the whole LGBTQ+ with the same brush will make some feel left out, which is the last thing we want during pride month.
Focus on inclusivity
Although LGBT pride in the workplace is a significant occasion in the LGBTQ+ community, it’s not a queer-only holiday. It’s about togetherness, tolerance, and acceptance. Pride events are about community and inclusion, and office celebrations should be open to all. Don’t just confine the pride month celebration to the gay employees of your workplace. Instead, you should encourage the non-LGBTQ+ employees to join too. The fight for LGBTQ+ rights can only be won by solidarity, and we should try to make it happen.