June is pride month, a month dedicated to great celebrations around the world for the LGBTQ+ community.
June was chosen because, in June 1969, police raided a New York City gay bar in Greenwich Village, the Stonewall Inn. Following that event, 6 days of protests began, now called the Stonewall Riots. This sparked the gay rights movement in the United States and beyond, and was the first pride.
Now, this time is spent having pride celebrations such as pride events and pride parades. But, what does being a member of the LGBTQ+ community and pride look like within a workforce?
Recent Improvements for Human Rights and Pride in the Workforce
In June 2020, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a person cannot be fired due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
There is this shift in the workforce as Gen Z is entering. Gen Z cares more about inclusion and is more likely to be in the LGBT community or be an ally for other LGBTQ+ employees.
Workplaces are adapting to this change. 91% of Fortune 500 companies have made a public commitment to the LGBTQ- community and 88% of them have trans-inclusive benefits for their employees. Many companies now celebrate pride month by sharing the rainbow flag and sponsoring pride march events.
What is Missing?
While there have been great steps forward it still does not cover everyone in the workforce.
LGBT employees can still be fired for their identity if they work for small businesses with less than 15 employees and for religious reasons.
Within the workplace, there are no requirements for bathrooms for transgender people, and there are insurance problems with transgender healthcare and HIV/AIDS medication.
There still is a stigma around being out in the workplace. 21% of employees are not out in their workplace, and 26% of them say they fear they would be treated differently. For LGBTQ+ professionals, 31% of them have faced discrimination and/or microaggressions.
But, there are benefits of being out in the workplace. Having LGBTQ+ employees out creates a deeper connection with others, more meaningful relationships, and those who are out feel like a weight is lifted.
What can companies do to serve employees better?
It starts with leadership. It is easy to speak about the community during the LGBTQ pride month. But, there should be conversations and action implemented. A great way to do this is by having LGBTQ employees in senior leadership.
Then, day-to-day interactions are highly important. This is when microaggressions take place and slowly break down the comfortability of an employee.
There should be clear policies to protect LGBTQ employees. Then, there should be hiring practices put in place to hire and support LGBTQ employees. Once an employee is hired, there should be safe spaces within the company. With those safe spaces, there should be allies that support the LGBTQ+ individuals in those spaces.
When a company has a good culture for LGBTQ identities, they have higher financial performance, better innovation, and a more engaged workforce. Those who have to hide their identity cannot produce their best work possible!