With June coming to an end, that also means that Pride month is coming to end. However, the allyship must continue. According to a research study by
, approximately 59% of employees aren’t open about their sexual identity. As amazing as it is to see support worldwide, how can we become better allies in the B2B sector?
Well, first thing’s first. If you haven’t, go update your LinkedIn profile with your pronouns. As a cisgender woman, I have no issue putting (She/Her), but if it helps others feel more comfortable putting their preferences, well, that’s what being inclusive is all about.
But it goes beyond doing the bare minimum. If your company did change their logo during this month, ask yourself if you earned it or was it just a matter of asking your designers to change the logo? If you haven’t done anything in terms of policies, initiatives or inclusivity, then it will come off as performative. Before events like these, it’s so important to remember the intention – is it to create a safe space, or is it to come off ‘politically correct’ and boost sales?
But there are things you can do post-Pride month to be an effective ally.
Research (especially if you’re at a senior level)
Being in the know is absolutely critical. The more informed you can be, the better. The transgender community still faces an obscene amount of hate crimes daily, and people that identify as gay, transgender and bisexual are
twice as likely
to experience mental health related issues. When you care, you’ll be more inclined to offer support, and, if you brush off these statistics, it comes off as if it’s ‘not your problem.’
And once you start learning more about LGBTQ+ issues, you’ll be exposed to charities, causes, initiatives and programmes that you’ll be able to offer or look into for your employees.
One thing that was interesting to hear from our most recent B2B Marketing Ignite USA conference was when the CMO of Accenture, Joseph Taiano, spoke about affinity groups at his company. When he first joined Accenture, he joined one, which brought together marginalised groups around a cause. At the time, Joe said he didn’t have many gay friends, so he joined an LGBTQ+ employee resource group. If your company has the resources, it’s worth the investment, but if you don’t, there are several charities and organisations you can join and look into such as
LinkedIn’s Out in Tech
Free Equal United Nations
Provide an inclusive environment for all employees
Statistically, many members of the LGBTQ+ community feel like they can’t bring their ‘whole’ selves at work with the main cause of that being fear. And while your company policy might look fundamentally sound, your employees and staff might be contributing to that statistic. Perhaps not everyone is providing a safe space for employees to be themselves. And rather than ignore a few bad seeds, it’s important not to stay silent because those ‘just a joke’ excuses are harmful.
A report from just last year
showed that transgender employees felt discrimination on the basis of bathroom usage, incorrect pronouns and invading questions regarding their surgery status. In addition,
LGBTQ+ people of colour
are at least twice as likely as white LGBTQ+ people to say they have been personally discriminated against in the workplace.
Perhaps you can look into diversity training specifically for the LGBTQ+ community. Some companies also put out support boxes for employees to submit anonymous complaints about work culture. Or it can be as simple as looking into gender neutral bathrooms or opting for gender neutral language on applications.
These are all changes that can make someone feel seen and as a result, keep your talent. In a study conducted by
Human Rights Campaign Foundation
, 25% of LGBTQ+ employees reported staying at a company because of its inclusive environment.
Acknowledge the adversity the community still faces
In the US, Juneteeth was celebrated for the first time and while the US has made strides, it is also clear that systemic racism still exists and takes the lives of many individuals purely based on race. And the same principle can be said for the LGBTQ+ community – while there have been strides, there are still a lot of unconscious biases and stereotypes that play out in the workplace.
At the end of Pride month, it’s important to recognise the work that has been done to promote acceptance and awareness, but it’s also essential to continue the push. The ‘work’ isn’t over. Be sure to look out for:
- Non-Binary People’s Day, on 14 July
- The London Pride Parade, taking place on the weekend of 11 September
- Bisexual Awareness Week, from 16 to 22 September
- National Coming Out Day, on 11 October
- Pronouns Day, on the third Wednesday of October
- Asexual Awareness Week, in the last full week of October
- Transgender Awareness Month, in November
At B2B Marketing, we know we’re not perfect, and we need to keep these things in mind as much as anyone else. If you have any ideas for content to keep this discussion at the fore of our industry, please feel free to drop us a line at: