As we come to the end of Pride month, it is important to take the time to reflect on this symbolic time of the year. Pride is not just a celebration of LGBTQ+ voices, culture, and experiences — it also creates visibility for under-represented groups and encourages us all to be our authentic selves. It represents an ongoing movement for equality and highlights issues the community still faces today.
The parades, marches, and other Pride events that take place in June, with the rainbow flag as uniting symbol, were born from those who fought for equality for the LGBTQ+ community since the Stonewall riots in June, 1969. Despite the progress that has been made worldwide, there is still a long way to go in the fight for equality.
Pride is not just a celebration of LGBTQ+ voices, culture, and experiences — it also creates visibility for under-represented groups and encourages us all to be our authentic selves.
Throughout Pride month, Salesforce’s equality group Outforce brings together employees who are members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies. We celebrate Pride around the world by hosting educational events, fundraisers, and partaking in pride parades – although many of these events remained on hold this year, many were held virtually until it’s safe to do so again in person.
We asked members of Outforce to share what Pride month means to them, and for their advice on how to be a good ally to the community.
Being an ally means acknowledging our differences, and supporting and respecting the diversity we each bring. It means taking positive action to improve the lives of the LGBTQ+ community and using your voice to boost theirs. Here are some steps you can put into practice to help you become an LGBTQ+ ally:
1. Listen and Educate Yourself
As an ally, it’s important to learn about the LGBTQ+ community and the adversity they have faced – and still face today. Develop an understanding of how the world views and treats them. Listen to their stories, ask questions about their journey, and read about the history of the LGBTQ+ community. In order to learn, you need to be willing to truly listen and do the work.
2. Language Matters
Be aware that even though someone might fit a generally used definition, they may not personally identify this way. If you are unsure of someone’s pronoun or label, just ask them respectfully. When meeting new people try integrating inclusive, gender-neutral language into your conversations such as ‘they’ instead of ‘him’ or ‘her’, and ‘partner’ instead of ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’.
3. Speak Up Against Hate
It is easy to call yourself an ally, but the label alone isn’t enough. Be a proud ally and call out harmful stereotyping. Anti-LGBTQ+ comments and jokes are harmful – let your friends, family, and colleagues know that you find them offensive. It takes dedication to make true acceptance and respect a reality. Your open and consistent support will lead as an example to others.
Being a good ally can be a challenging journey – one that will push you to confront your own assumptions, biases and prejudices, and those of others too. Acknowledging these challenges and accepting each other for who we are, brings us a step closer to closing the inequality gap.
4. Support LGBTQ+ Nonprofits
Many LGBTQ+ nonprofits coordinate their annual fundraising efforts around Pride month in June when the visibility of LGBTQ+ people, their rights, and concerns are at the forefront. To celebrate Pride month, consider making a donation or volunteering with the nonprofits supporting the community. Need some inspiration?
Learn more about how you can cultivate equality by taking this trail on Trailhead, and read more about LGBTQ+ Trailblazers Making a Difference.
About the Author
Marketing Manager at Salesforce.org