Celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month at work

6 meaningful ways you can help your company celebrate Pride Month

Michael Boykin,Yellow Squiggle
Inclusion written in font colored by various Pride flags

Don't miss our 2020 Pride stories about empathy and inclusion from the Range team.

In honor of Pride Month, Range is sharing a few posts on building inclusion at work. Last week we wrote about building an inclusive work environment by holding space. We’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts. You can find us on Twitter at @RangeLabs.*

A few years ago now, I was at a different startup, one quite a bit larger than Range is now. A coworker I regularly grabbed a coffee with had approached me asking me to help him plan something to help our company celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride.

My colleague didn’t come to me with a plan, and neither of us had any idea of what we’d be able to pull off given the short window of time we had. What we cared about most was celebrating Pride, however we could, and we wanted to celebrate alongside the people with whom we spent almost every day — our coworkers.

There’s more than one way to celebrate any occasion, and Pride is certainly no exception. So, if you’re looking for meaningful ways to help your company celebrate this month, here is a handful of ideas you can definitely pull together in the next couple of weeks.

Update: This post was originally published before the COVID-19 pandemic changed how we live, work, and interact with one another. For this reason, I’ve made updates to some of the suggestions shared below which take into account the remote-first approach to work adopted by many companies.

6 ways to celebrate Pride Month at work

1. Volunteer for and support LGBTQ causes

You probably already know about the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD, but did you know there are many smaller, local LGBTQ community centers and foundations across the country that are always looking for support? (Use this locator to find centers near you.)

While these often underfunded centers will always appreciate a donation, supporting them can also mean volunteering your time and skills. Lending your support to special programs and events can make a world of difference to the lives of LGBTQ youth and people without permanent housing who depend on these centers. And if you or your coworkers have web development, design, writing, or marketing skills, your help could directly contribute to the growth of a local center.

Updated suggestion: Volunteering in-person may not be possible in your area presently and for some time to come. However, there are likely a number of ways in which you can volunteer your time in a remote capacity (and that doesn’t have to be strictly during the month of June). You might also consider organizing a company-wide fundraiser to make a larger monetary donation at the end of Pride Month

2. Create your own Pride swag

More stickers and buttons. More socks. More shirts. More fanny packs. What we wear can say a lot about who we are, the type of person we might be. And whatever the items, your company’s Pride swag only helps to increase awareness and further advance the LGBTQ cause.

When my colleague and I got the all-clear to begin planning our company’s Pride event, we were overwhelmed by the amount of support we received from others in our company. Our coworkers didn’t just ask “Where can we help?” they actually came to us with ideas. One of those ideas was stickers, and they were designed and ordered in a matter of two days.

Stickers. It might not sound like much, but as a tech company that very regularly sent many of its employees to domestic and international events — not to mention all of the time we spent in front of customers — those stickers said a lot. Our employees, everyone from our recruiters to our CTO, let everyone they encountered know we were a company that supported the LGBTQ community and that we valued inclusivity. 🌈

Updated suggestion: Still, stickers. I’ve still got that beautiful Pride sticker a colleague of mine designed four years ago on my personal laptop, and I feel proud each time I open that laptop in public.

That said, while painting your logo with any number of Pride flags and updating your website or applying it to swag does bring awareness, doing so is nowhere near as helpful as taking action. Inviting a guest speaker or organization to give a virtual presentation can be a great way to bring awareness within your own company while also educating yourself and your colleagues about the LGBTQ movement. Just remember to have a topic(s) of discussion in mind and a reason for reaching out to an individual or organization.

3. Host Pride-focused lunch and learns

Part of celebrating Pride Month is learning about LGBTQ history and the leaders and activists who have paved the way for LGBTQ rights. One great way to do this is to host lunch and learns to share that history.

You don’t have to be a member of the LGBTQ community to research a topic or an activist and share what you’ve learned with your colleagues. While different from presenting your findings on a new way to approach goal setting and OKRs — this will require a bit more care — everyone has the ability to research, summarize, and present. What’s more, if you aren’t a member of the LGBTQ community, this is a great way to demonstrate that you are an ally. And if you can have lunch brought in for those who attend, all the better.

Wondering who or what to present to your company? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Marsha P. Johnson
  • Sylvia Rivera
  • Barbara Gittings
  • Edith Windsor
  • Harvey Milk
  • The Stonewall riots
  • Christopher Street Liberation Day
  • The red ribbon

Updated suggestion: Lunch and learns can still happen — we still do them at Range — they just don’t happen in the office cafeteria or kitchen anymore. If you have the budget to provide lunch or a sweet treat to attendees, which will likely mean having those items delivered, great, but it was always the learning that was most important here.

4. Plan a company event or Pride celebration

Has your company ever hosted a happy hour, Meetup, or celebration for a big milestone? If so, you’ll find putting together a Pride celebration to be quite similar. (The decorations will probably just be a bit more colorful.) In fact, with a modest budget and enough lead time, you’ll likely be able to find a party planning company that can help you very quickly pull everything together.

After my colleague and I approached our people operations team, they spoke to our executives, secured the budget, and then sat down with us to see what we had in mind. They took our ideas and expanded them, reaching out to a party planning company we’d hired for events in the past. Less than two weeks later our company had hosted its first Pride celebration. We couldn’t believe the turnout, and it went down as one of the best events our company ever hosted.

Updated suggestion: Outside of all-hands (company-wide) meetings at Range, we have at least one virtual social event scheduled each week. We catch up for a few minutes, but we quickly get down to the business at hand: playing games, typically online drawing games. Ultimately, it’s a time for us to come together. If people have stories to share, virtual Pride events to share with the team, or you want to take the SF Chronicle’s Ultimate Pride Quiz together, use that existing event to come together for the purpose of Pride. If you don’t have that time on the calendar already, then put it on there!

5. Attend Pride events hosted by another company or organization

Maybe you can’t find the time or resources to plan your company’s own Pride event. That’s okay. You won’t be hard-pressed to find other events in your city that you and your company can join.

Across the country, there are city-wide events taking place throughout much of this month to celebrate love and the diversity of identity within the LGBTQ community. You’ll find talks with activists and public figures, workshops and seminars, happy hours and parties, smaller parades and marches, and quite a bit more. You might even have a friend at a company that is hosting their own Pride celebration, and there’s a good chance guests are welcome.

Updated suggestion: A quick search for “online pride events 2021” yielded enough results for me to believe that many of us will still be able to attend events during this year’s Pride if attending in-person events are not an option in our state. You might find a panel discussion that speaks to you, a bring-your-own-brunch drag brunch, or an online rally bringing together the community.

6. Rally your coworkers and attend your local Pride parade

We’ve come a long way since Christopher Street Liberation Day on June 28, 1970, the first Gay Pride march in US history. Today, 50 years later, Pride marches and events take place throughout the country and around the world, bringing together hundreds of thousands of spectators and participants, including large corporations. 👭👬👫

Showing up and cheering from the sidelines is all you have to do to be a part of Pride. So if you’re wondering what’s happening for Pride in your city, here’s a helpful calendar of parades and events taking place around the world this year.

Updated suggestion: As with the suggestion shared above, take this opportunity to register for an online Pride event. You might find an event taking place during the workweek that you and your coworkers can attend together, or you might find one that brings you all together over the weekend. We’ll be celebrating differently again this year, but we’ll still be celebrating together.

There’s still plenty of time to plan for Pride

We might already be halfway through Pride Month, but there’s still so much time for your company to find ways to celebrate.

As you begin to think about what you might do, remember to have fun but don’t forget what LGBTQ Pride is about: appreciating community and diversity, remembering the progress that has been made, and celebrating love in all its forms.

Happy Pride Month! 🏳️‍🌈

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6 ideas for celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month at work
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