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Up until very recently, COVID-19 has made in-person gatherings beyond your small social circle ill-advised at best and, at worst, life-threatening.
As such, celebrations have looked a little different in the coronavirus era. And, for many, video calling has been the only viable way to get together to mark special occasions for the bulk of the last 16 months or so.
This applies to the world of work as well. And with many companies’ workforces still dispersed and working largely remotely, organizations are finding ways to virtually celebrate Pride Month 2021.
Glassdoor, for example, hosted Virtual Pride Bingo on June 12, which the company describes as “not your grandma’s Bingo,” with LGBTQ+ pride as the main category. The employer review website’s Pride employee resource group also invited employees to gather virtually to watch a documentary on gay rights advocate and Stonewall veteran Marsha P. Johnson.
On June 22, Condé Nast’s brand Them hosted Out Now Live, a Pride-themed celebration that included speeches and messages from Adam Lambert, Naomi Campbell, Whoopi Goldberg, Michael Kors and many others.
Financial services provider Fidelity is hosting a live stream event of its “Out and Proud” podcast series, “which gives employees a platform to share their stories of coming out at the workplace,” according to the organization.
Salesforce is offering a variety of virtual Pride programming to “shine light onto the fact that Pride is never canceled,” such as talks about the LGBTQ+ employee experience, fundraising for The Trevor Project and participating in employees’ own cities’ virtual Pride efforts.
Of course, Salesforce is one of many organizations where LGBTQ+ Pride is more than a one-month commitment.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, for example, has long been a vocal opponent of legislation considered discriminatory toward the LGBTQ community.
Microsoft’s GLEAM (Global LGBTQ+ Employees and Allies at Microsoft) employee resource group has been providing support, advocacy, networking opportunities, external outreach to community non-profits and education within the company since 1993. The group now has more than 2,000 members and 46 chapters across 36 countries.
And other brands are helping customers literally wear their support for the LGBTQ+ community year-round.
Ralph Lauren has launched a gender-neutral Polo Pride collection for adults and children, with 100% of the purchase price from the sale of each polo shirt, and 25% of the purchase price from the sale of each graphic tee, sweatshirt, flag sweater, fanny pack, baseball cap and socks going to the Stonewall Community Foundation.
In addition to donating more than $2 million to The Trevor Project since 2010, Abercrombie & Fitch has co-designed a Pride collection that features 24 gender-inclusive clothing items in sizes from XXS to XXXL.
Along with a grant to the Trans Lifeline x GOLX Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Care Fund, Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack have partnered with The Phluid Project to create an exclusive Pride Capsule that includes gender-free hats and bags starting at $12.
Men’s athletic apparel and gear maker Rhone has launched a unisex Pride capsule collection with items ranging from joggers to hooded sweatshirts in white, navy and rainbow hues. Rhone is also making a $10,000 donation from sales of items in this collection to Mental Health America, to assist with the development of LGBTQ-focused resources and initiatives.
Speaking of workout gear, Peloton has introduced a “My Truth is Our Power” Pride-themed apparel collection featuring a rainbow inspired by LGBTQ+ identities and stories, in addition to its “Giving Back Globally” initiative, dedicated to supporting the safety, mental health and well-being of LGBTQ+ communities around the world.
“The best way to help people be at their best is to help them bring their full selves to the team or project, and this is one of the many reasons I like to see organizations showing their full support for Pride,” said WorldatWork CEO Scott Cawood, Ed.D., CCP, CBP, GRP, CSCP, WLCP.
“June is traditionally Pride month, which WorldatWork fully supports because it offers everyone a time and place to become more aware of their own behavior and beliefs, with an extra element of empowerment for some to potentially change their position or belief about those who identify with a different sexual orientation or gender identity.”
While Pride is in many ways celebratory, it’s also about taking a stance for the rights of others, added Cawood.
“I think it is important for people to know where their company stands on issues of diversity and inclusion, and supporting Pride sends a very important message to your straight and LGBTQ+ employees,” he said.
“In 2021, people are still harassed, attacked, can be fired, incarcerated or even put to death in many places in the world for their sexual orientation. I see celebrating and supporting Pride as more than a ‘woke’ thing to do. I see it as paving the way for future generations, who I hope will not have to navigate so much hate because of who they are.”
About the Author
Mark McGraw is the managing editor of Workspan.