June is Gay Pride Month throughout the world, and it marks the turmoil and protests within the LGBTQ+ community after the NYPD invaded the Stonewall Inn, a gay nightclub, in Greenwich Village, New York City, on June 28th, 1969. The experience of this milestone event galvanized this diverse community and their allies to come together to fight for equal rights. Ever since then, the LGBTQ+ population has stood up against discrimination and fought for acceptance everywhere from the military to housing rights to marriage to medical care and for equality across the board.
So why is this relevant in 2021 in the workplace? Imagine a time when people went to work and had to hide who they were at home – who they loved and who they lived with. Imagine having to change the pronoun of your spouse when you spoke with your boss for fear that if s/he found out you were married to someone of the same gender, you could lose your job. It was not until last year that the Supreme Court ruled that employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is prohibited in federal law. While laws have changed, deep-seated beliefs are harder to erase, and for employees living in rural communities or of an older generation, it is difficult to be completely comfortable and out in the workplace. In 2021, to be a truly inclusive company of all its employees and customers, it is important to show a level of sensitivity to this fear that has permeated the workplace for too many years.
Many companies have now realized the significant value that LGBTQ+ employees bring to the workplace and the spending power that this formerly marginalized part of society controls, which in 2019 was estimated at $3.7 trillion globally. While companies celebrate all manners of holidays in the workplace, acknowledging their LGBTQ+ employees and customers makes astute business sense. Some people may believe that they do not have gay employees or gay customers. While that could be true, the more likely scenario is that they do, but those employees may still fear discrimination and keep quiet. It is good to remember that every employee or customer is someone’s son, daughter, grandchild, nephew, niece, uncle, aunt, or parent, and they support your workplace by working for you or by spending money with your business. A good example of a company that has embraced this business decision is Peloton, which not only acknowledges its employees and customers but is donating $100,000 to LGBTQ+ charities to acknowledge Gay Pride.
Companies have numerous options, such as changing the Zoom background during the month of June, hosting a road race or picnic, donating to applicable charities, sharing a statement of support publicly, or adding employee pronouns on their email signatures. The options are endless, and the effort affirms that the company cares about people regardless of who they are. This allows employees and consumers to see that the company is inclusive of everyone and makes good financial sense.
When looking for a new position or staff, it helps to partner with Goodwin Recruiting, which has been acknowledged as one of Forbes Best Recruiting Firms for two years in a row and cares deeply about their employees and recruiting partners of all backgrounds. This belief permeates not only through their recruiting partners but also in the candidates and clients that they represent. Goodwin Recruiting is proudly dedicated to diversity and inclusion.