How to be a straight ally to the LGBTQ+ community beyond Pride Month?
What is Pride season or Pride month?
Pride month is not recognized internationally as pride celebrations take place in many other places at different times, including in the months of February, June, July, August, and September.
For those who aren’t familiar with this topic, the celebration of pride month has its roots in the struggle of minority groups. It is honored to the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York, that fought to achieve acceptance in society and equal justice and equal opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning LGBTQ Americans. It is celebrated annually in June in order to support and raise awareness for equality for everyone in society.
The celebrations of today are known for parties, picnics, parades, and concerts and which is a huge attraction for anyone, especially in Berlin. Every year, the demonstration procession leads from Kreuzberg via Schöneberg to the Brandenburg Gate involving up to 80.000 people including visitors. The German capital is known for the high diversity of people related to their genders, religions, and cultures.
Nowadays, several federal and local policies and practices are acknowledging LBTQ+ youth, and numerous national advocacy and other organisations are supporting a wider acceptance in society by creating a better place for everyone in the LGBTQ+ community in communities and schools.
What is the struggle with companies?
While it is great to have this month in order to raise awareness, a lot of companies are showing their loyalty through the rainbow flag. However, organisations should support throughout the year their diverse communities including LGBTQ+, not only during this month just to use this symbol as marketing and for corporate commercials… It is important not just to “support” LGBTQ+ people during Pride and then wipe off the rainbow to appease the rest of your clientele the rest of the year.
Rather, try to create an inclusive environment in order to create a better world of work for all throughout the year.
In order to improve, ask yourself the following questions for your company:
- Does your brand show diversity or a statement to involve the LGBTQ+ people throughout the year?
- Is your company working on creating an inclusive environment for everyone?
- Is your company donating proceeds to an LGBTQ+ organisation? And doing the work to find the small, less well-known organisation?
- Are you amplifying LGBTQ+ voices and giving them space on your platform
How to be a straight ally at work
“Straight ally” is a term used by heterosexual people who support that LGBTQ+ people have to be treated equally at work. It’s just important to embed this mentality in the company. Considering the fact that gay people have to make the decision if they have to come out every time when meeting new colleagues can be really difficult. However, the decision-making can be done easier when people feel secure and comfortable in their work environment.
This can be done by providing training on sensible topics and how to cooperate with a highly diverse team.
According to straight women,you also need to train your employees to work with a highly diverse team and related topics such as unconscious bias. Being an ally can help you to complete tasks faster and easier and supports a good team spirit.
The basis for an effective ally is mutual trust and respect that can be reached by following topics:
Listen to your colleagues
Offer security and an open ear to your colleagues, this means that you should listen to the LGBTQ+ people, ask how they are doing and be aware that there are some topics that might be more sensible than others since they may have gone through some difficult time.
Be proactive and offer your support to others when you recognise they need help.
Alliances need nurturing, so make sure to connect with people on regular basis for a loyal relationship.
Communicating effectively also means using inclusive language. This covers to use of non-discriminatory language. Make sure you're using pronouns and possessives such as he,she, her and his that are in accordance with the gender identity. Also, try to avoid gender-biased words such as chairman and use chairperson instead.
Organisations adjust to diversity and develop formal straight ally programs. This way, they encourage and support more straight people to become allies.
The key is to treat each other equally and accept everyone.
It is still common that LGBTQ+ people everywhere in the world, so it is important to show support and fight for equality where you can– always, throughout the year.
For anyone that wants to take on the pride responsibility, be aware that this celebration of pride is more than a parade, party or marketing purpose. It has its roots in resistance and leads to diversity, equity and inclusion, and safety for the whole future.