Beyond the Pride Flag: Is Your Business Providing an Inclusive Space Year-Round?

June is Pride Month; a month dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ+ activism and culture. It is celebrated in June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots in New York, in 1969 when patrons fought back against the police raiding of a known gay bar at the time. Since its inception, pride month and the activities and celebrations throughout it have helped make huge strides in LGBTQ+ visibility and acceptance. In the business world, much has changed since the Stonewall Riots in 1969. For example, as of 2018, 93% of Fortune 500 companies have a non-discriminatory policy including sexual-orientation, with 85% extended that protection to gender-identity. 

Businesses Join Pride Celebrations

As societal views surrounding the LGBTQ+ community continue to progressed in the right direction, more people are taking part in Pride celebrations. Just in Toronto alone, nearly 1 million people come out to celebrate Pride and show their solidarity with members of the community. In recent years, we have also seen businesses of all sizes, flying the Pride flag to show their support of LGBTQ+ rights and to signify that they are an inclusive and progressive place in which all are welcome. In addition, some larger corporations, like Adidas, will not only show their support but donate revenue to LGBTQ+ causes like the Trevor Project

Moving Beyond the Flag

Displays of support, like displaying the Pride flag throughout your business, are meaningful and powerful messages. However, it’s important that businesses move past simply displaying the flag and consider what they could do within their own facility to create safer, more inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ people.

  • 30% of LGBTQ+ workers in Canada report experiencing workplace discrimination, compared to 3% of non-LGBTQ+ workers
  • 2/3 of transgender people avoid using public washrooms for fear of confrontation
  • 1/3 of transgender people limits what they eat and drink to avoid having to use a public washrooms

There is still lots of work to be done to make members of the LGBTQ+ community feel safe and included at work beyond displaying the flag. 

Creating More Inclusive Spaces

Creating inclusive spaces is essential in making sure your employees and visitors feel welcome. Beyond displays of support, it’s important that businesses have inclusivity at the center of their facility hygiene programs. Progressive hygiene incorporates the needs of all to build spaces that consider needs that are often overlooked.

Not all menstruators identify as women, a fact that many facility managers fail to consider when deciding what goes in the washrooms. Needs like those of transgender men, who are rarely, if ever, afforded anywhere to safely and discreetly dispose of their menstrual products in male washrooms. This leaves them at risk of having to dispose of their menstrual products in common spaces, running the risk of being outed or being forced into unwanted confrontations from other users. 

Moving forward, when making decisions on company policy or operations, it’s important that employers ask themselves: will this decision/policy provide equitable outcomes for all employees? 

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