Every year in the month of June, we celebrate Pride Month. The purpose of this month long celebration is to recognize the efforts of LGBTQ+ community and their impact on world history. The purpose is also to spread awareness and gather more and more support for the community.
The unfortunate truth is that for empowerment and equality to actually happen, the empowered will also have to stand for those who need it. Those of us outside the community are way more privilege than we care to admit or even realize. The LGBTQ+ community needs our unprecedented and honest support in order to come out of the years of exclusion and harassment, especially in the workspace.
Even today, the working professionals of the community fear being open about their orientation because it would harm their career. The workspace conditions are so problematic and the stigma is so stern, that the LGBTQ+ folks do not even feel comfortable in it. The discrimination is very real and it’s time we do something about it. As colleagues, the least we can do is consciously take steps towards making a comfortable, inclusive, safe, and respectful work environment for everyone including the LGBTQ+ community.
Understanding The Community
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The first step has to be awareness and education. Once you educate yourself on the LGBTQ+ community, you will not only be more accepting in nature but you will also be able to identify problematic content and actions all around the office to help make a more sensitive work environment. You can learn by reading from reliable sources or by speaking to somebody from the community. Once you educate yourself, you should also feel responsible to spread the awareness. Spread awareness through normal office conversations and social media. Let everybody know that June is the Pride month and push them to learn more about the subject.
One of the common ways in which people unknowingly offend someone from the LGBTQ+ community is making “assumptions”. Lack of education on the subject makes people ignorant and that’s when they become complicit in the common practice of assuming a coworker’s sexual orientation or gender. We must learn to be more respectful and sensitive than that.
Raise Your Voice
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It’s time for you to break your silence and raise your voice. Be explicitly supportive of the LGTBQ+ colleagues in your workspace. Silent support will not really do the trick. Show your solidarity and let everybody know you are an ally. Inspire others, in fact!
Do not keep shut when you find someone making inappropriate comments or jokes. Stop them then and there to knock some sense into them. Stand up against homophobia. Condemn it and try to educate people out of it.
Demand An Inclusive Work Culture
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Everything is a part of the demand-supply chain, including an inclusive workplace. Every organization cares about hiring brilliant talents. So if we, the brilliant talents, demand an inclusive workplace; the organizations will be forced to develop one. Your preference should be to work in a company that welcomes every race, creed, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Your company’s employee handbook should be up to date and inclusive. The company should have specific anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies to protect the LGBTQ+ population.
Carry on with these steps every month of the year. But the Pride Month is a good time to start.