Being a year-round LGBTQIA ally

Especially after Pride Month, the fight for inclusion and equality continues

Michael Boykin,Yellow Squiggle
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Don't miss our 2020 Pride stories about empathy and inclusion from the Range team.

In honor of Pride Month, Range has shared a number of posts focused on building inclusion at work. I’d also say this series has also been focused on building greater awareness of the LGBTQIA community, of which I am a member. Having the opportunity to write and share these ideas and experiences through this medium (my company’s blog) has been quite an empowering experience.

We thank you for reading along with us and would love to hear your ideas and thoughts. You can find us on Twitter at @RangeLabs.

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It has been 50 years since New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn gay bar, inciting a series of protests from its patrons and New York’s LGBTQ residents. One year after that raid, marches remembering the events and celebrating the community behind those protests began. Since then, each year during the month of June we celebrate what has become known as Pride Month.

Every June, the growing LGBTQIA community sees an amazing amount of support. Beyond our community, everyone from our allies to the businesses that sponsor Pride looks forward to this month. Pride draws out the diversity of our country’s communities. During the same march, you might see a mother walking to support her trans daughter before turning to see a dad with his 3-year-old son on his shoulders excitedly cheering and waving at the many marchers.

We look forward to Pride Month each year because, after first remembering the many struggles and the ongoing fight for equality and gay rights, Pride is a time to celebrate individuality, inclusion, and love.

But so often, it seems, many of us—LGBTQIA people and allies alike—forget why Pride Month exists. The community discussions, the performances, the vigils, the protests, the festivals, the marches. They happen to further educate us about and remind us of the why behind Pride. They happen because they must still happen.

Here are just a few recent events that give us cause to march:

  • On June 1 of this year, the body of black trans woman Chynal Lindsey was pulled from White Rock Lake in Dallas, Texas
  • At the beginning of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed Trump’s transgender military ban to take effect
  • On January 10, 2018, police found the body of 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein in an Orange County, CA park; he’d been stabbed 20 times
  • Currently, 17 states provide no legal protections for LGBTQ employees, leaving them vulnerable to harassment, retaliation, retaliation, and other forms of workplace abuse based on their sexual orientation

How to be an ally beyond Pride Month

After we’ve washed off the rainbow tattoos and body paint, removed our pins and flair, and recycled the signs we marched with, the issues raised during Pride Month persist. They do not become non-issues during the 335 days that pass before June returns.

During this blog series, we’ve talked about inclusion and shared a number of ways to support the LGBTQIA community.

  • Amplify often unheard voices: We don’t all have the same opportunities to be heard — truly heard — even when we’re all allowed to speak. If you are in a position of influence, help to elevate the ideas and concerns of those around you who must be heard but aren’t.
  • Hold space to promote inclusivity: Holding space can be a powerful tool for starting open conversations and improving inclusion. Make it possible for everyone to share what might be wrong and work together to find a solution.
  • Educate yourself on new topics: Before simply asking questions of a coworker, consider doing some quick reading of your own. Don’t know what all of the letters in LGBTQIA stand for? Have no idea what genderqueer means? Educate yourself.
  • Refrain from making assumptions: Personal experiences bias us and can lead to making false connections. Being mindful of our biases can help us refrain from verbalizing those assumptions. Just found out a teammate is married? Ask about their spouse, significant other, or partner and not their husband or wife.

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Pride Month ends this weekend. When it does, remember that your support is greatly valued and deeply appreciated. But most of all, remember that it is needed. Fighting for equality and LGBTQIA rights requires year-round support. This fight doesn’t end when we see one group treated equally—it ends when every member of our community is treated equally.

Remember that the same issues we discussed over the past month will need continued support after June. The centers, clinics, and nonprofits that rely on our volunteership and financial support from businesses will still need us all after this month is over. Even after Pride Month has ended, the LGBTQIA community will still be here.

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Being a year-round LGBTQIA ally
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