We will keep thinking about how to be a better ally to and advocate for the LGBT community – will you? - Chantal Sheehan, Blue Fox Founder
Pride is a funny word.
It’s what we want our kids to have in their work. It’s how we feel about our friends or loved ones when we see them perform heroic acts or take brave risks. It’s also what may come before our fall, according to some.
June is National Pride Month – a time of year when we celebrate the LGBT community and its movement for equality. For some who were born before words like “ally” and “inclusion” were normalized in American society, it can be hard to imagine a time when being gay was a crime let alone when it was simply socially unacceptable. And yet that was the case not long ago.
Today we know that the LGBT community makes up roughly 4.5% of Americans. (Interesting interactive map of LGBT data by state is here, if you want to understand your home state population better.) That means if you know 50 people, at least 2 of them are LGBT. Think of those 2+ people in your life. Do you advocate for them? Do you support them, emotionally or otherwise? If they work at your organization, do you empower them at work?
As leaders and doers in the social impact space, we are on the frontlines of everyday movements for justice and equality – social, racial, environmental, and sexual. But do our management and leadership values reflect a commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion? What do our hiring practices reveal about our values? Does our board makeup indicate an understanding of and commitment to those populations who need our support the most?
If you have never considered these kinds of questions, they can be a challenge at first. For those of us who are personally accepting and inclusive, it may feel like a stretch to think about ways to institutionalize our commitment to diverse communities.
But it must be done.
We cannot tout our commitment to our mission and simultaneously ignore the need to bake in diversity and inclusion into our organizational culture. We cannot advance one cause while sidelining another. The net effect of that approach is negative rather than positive.
So in the spirit of Pride month, here are a few resources to get you started on the path towards building a more just, equitable, and inclusive work environment.
In the words of Malcom X, “If not now, then when – if not me then who?”
It’s easy to change your branding to rainbow colors for June, or make the pride symbol your profile pic for the month. It’s hard to make real change in our lives, workplaces, and communities.
We will keep thinking about how to be a better ally to and advocate for the LGBT community – will you?
Author: Chantal Sheehan, Blue Fox Founder & Chief of Client Happiness
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