Pride Month Beyond June: Fostering Long-Term LGBTQ+ Support Year Round

Pride Month Beyond June: Fostering Long-Term LGBTQ+ Support Year Round

Last week America’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organisation declared a national state of emergency against the community for the first time in its history, with over 70 anti-LGBTQ+ bills being signed into law this year, and more expected in the coming months. From the outside looking in, it’s not always easy to fully understand how harmful policies like this affect each and every LGBTQ+ person worldwide. As the LGBTQ+ community, and in particular our trans siblings, now face real danger and an almost complete lack of protection in many US states, this Pride how can we stem this tide of negativity and offer long-term commitment to a community that needs it more than ever? And what responsibilities do allies have in helping achieve this?

When you think of Pride, what comes to mind? Is it a celebration all things queer and a look back on LGBTQ+ history, or a tick in the box and an opportunity for a LinkedIn marketing moment? Of course, it wouldn’t be Pride if we weren’t going to complain about how corporate it has become. It’s a topic that comes up every year, but remains a relevant and important discussion to have, particularly when speaking about taking real action versus corporate virtue signalling. Corporate sponsorship has become a big part of pride, from the Tesco float in the parade, to the Barclays rainbow logo, corporations will always find ways to capitalise on the pink pound. And when corporations get this right, by funding LGBTQ+ initiatives driven by LGBTQ+ creators, this can have a material benefit to an often economically marginalised community. But beyond sponsorship, how can businesses show sincere support to their LGBTQ+ employees? And should companies have to earn the right to display the rainbow in June?

There is so much more that companies and employers can do that will truly benefit the LGBTQ+ people who work for them. Working conditions and environment can have a huge impact on mental health, as research from the Karolinska Institute found, your boss has more of an impact on your health than your doctor does. Being able to be authentic at work benefits everyone, including the business; it allows employees to be their full, creative selves. This is why it’s important that employees, and in particular those with people leadership responsibilities, are confident and competent in facilitating an authentic, inclusive workplace culture. For LGBTQ+ employees, this means having the space to be out at work, to speak openly about your family structure, and to have space to connect with others in your community. It shouldn’t be underestimated how crucial support networks for LGBTQ+ employees and diversity and inclusion initiatives are for members of these communities at work, but outside of these initiatives, LGBTQ+ people are still struggling to be recognised by workplace policies. Businesses should strive to improve cultural competency through their policies, beyond what is just needed to comply with legislation, some examples include:

  • Bereavement policies –  LGBTQ+ people may often have different definitions of family to others, whether this is due to not being accepted by your family, or other personal reasons, bereavement policies should extend to a person’s ‘found family’
  • Parental leave – this should include anyone who is going to adopt or play a role in parenting a new child, and not limit full maternity leave entitlements to only those who give birth
  • Pensions  – ensuring the pension pot allows for civil partnerships or for couples who don’t want to, or are not able to, get married
  • Healthcare and health policies – should include protection for trans employees, who are amongst the most marginalised in our community
  • Equal pay – research has shown that those who identify as LGBTQ+ earn 22% less than their heterosexual counterparts. There is very little tracing of pay inequalities from an LGBTQ+ perspective, and companies can take a proactive approach by monitoring and intervening as necessary
  • Training and Development – ensuring employees from marginalised backgrounds are consistently supported by their employer to take part in community building as part of continuous professional development. Also ensuring that there are targeted initiatives to support employees who might be otherwise disadvantaged in the workplace

Pride Month may have a definitive timeframe, but it carries and means so much more to the LGBTQ+ community than just what we see in June. Feeling safe and included at work should be the bare minimum, and the beauty of Pride is that beyond being included, we can be celebrated. But allyship should be an everyday practice, and being an ally isn’t limited to a specific month or moment. As we bid farewell to Pride Month, let’s not let the momentum fade away, let Pride Month be a catalyst for lasting change and progress, extending far beyond the boundaries of June.

For more information on inclusion in the workplace:



Source: The LGBTQ+ Gap: Recent Estimates for Young Adults in the United States by Marc Folch :: SSRN