It’s June 1st, and you’d better be ready to see rainbows everywhere: rainbow logos, rainbow merch, rainbow advertisements, rainbow everything. As Pride Month begins, it seems like every company ever is just aching to capitalize on the marketing opportunity that Pride Month affords them. While we’re incredibly thankful that our society has come so far regarding human rights and equality, we need to recognize that Pride Month isn’t about finding ways for corporations to virtue signal or capitalize on the experiences of the LGBTQIA+ community. If companies truly want to celebrate equality, they need to practice what they preach 365 days per year—it can’t just be for the month of June.
Inclusive Hiring Practices
If companies want to get serious about supporting the LGBTQIA+ community, they need to be committed to hiring employees from all backgrounds and using inclusive hiring practices. When writing a job description, employers need to be careful to use gender neutral language. Employers often have a vision of what the ideal candidate is like. Though there’s nothing wrong with having an idea of the perfect candidate, your idea of the perfect candidate should be focused on the candidate’s ability to perform the job. Employers can take this a step further by having a standardized interview process for each candidate as well as a thoughtful equal employment opportunity statement.
Diversity and Anti-Harassment Training
Companies need to be doing regular training on diversity and anti-harassment. Creating a safe space for all employees is an important part of being a genuinely inclusive company as opposed to a company who’s only inclusive for show, or profit. Although we’re seeing a sharp increase in acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community, there are some people who are not supportive of the LGBTQIA+ community. While these people are entitled to their opinions, they aren’t entitled to voice discriminatory or exclusionary opinons in the workplace. If companies want to get serious about being inclusive and creating a safe environment for all of their employees, they must be willing to institute a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment.
Look, we get it: it’s tacky for companies to support LGBTQIA+ rights, sell a bunch of merch, and brag about how much they’ve donated for one month out of the year. Companies don’t need to treat donations as if they didn’t happen unless they’re posted on social media platforms. Instead, companies can support donating to resources for the LGBTQIA+ community by researching trustworthy charities and encouraging others to donate. Some employers may choose to match their employees’ donations to a specific charity. The Trevor Project is a fantastic charity that’s earned an A rating on Charity Watch. And they even allow you to request that your employer match your donation.
Promoting Local Organizations
Companies should find ways to give back to and promote local organizations that are dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQIA+ individuals along with providing them with all sorts of resources. There are so many ways companies can promote local charities and local organizations that are dedicated to helping the LGBTQIA+ community. Companies can support local charities, organizations, and events by holding silent auctions, visiting events as a group, and promoting them through their social networks. This is particularly effective for companies that have large followings or are well-connected. When these large organizations promote smaller local organizations and charities, it really goes a long way.
Don’t Get It Wrong
It’s great that we’re finally starting to celebrate diversity. But diversity is not for profit. And diversity is not just for one month a year. Diversity is not just for show. Being an inclusive and welcoming organization is more than just celebrating Pride Month with rainbow profile pictures, merchandise, and marketing campaigns. Celebrating Pride Month means continuing your commitment to supporting your LGBTQIA+ employees, promoting resources for LGBTQIA+ individuals, and continuing to provide a positive and inclusive environment for all employees. Companies and corporations have a ton of power. And this means they have a ton of responsibility. During Pride Month, companies need to commit to making genuine and lasting contributions to the promotion of equality for LGBTQIA+ individuals. This is not an opportunity for a marketing campaign or virtue signaling.
Our Challenge to You
We’ve come so far in such a short time. From the legalization of gay marriage in 2015 to the present day in 2022, we’ve seen a ton of change for the better. But we’ve still got a long way to go. There will always be those who feel hateful toward others or are unwilling to contribute to promoting equal rights. This month, at Jillcoil.com, we challenge you to find a way you can promote inclusivity in your community.