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  • Ash Beckham

Taking Pride to New Heights: 6 Ways Gay Business Leaders Can Foster Greater Inclusivity

Updated: Jun 19

Pride Month is a vibrant celebration of LGBTQ+ identity, community, and history, but it also presents an opportunity to reflect on the inclusivity within our own ranks. For gay business leaders, it is crucial to ensure that Pride—and the spirit of inclusivity it embodies—resonates with all members of the LGBTQ+ community and beyond. Here’s how to make Pride more inclusive, creating a more welcoming environment for everyone.

1. Promote Intersectionality

Intersectionality, the idea that different forms of discrimination overlap and affect people uniquely, is crucial in understanding the diverse experiences within the LGBTQ+ community. As a business leader, it's important to recognize and promote intersectionality within your organization. This means acknowledging and addressing the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ+ people of color, transgender individuals, bisexuals, and others who might experience compounded forms of marginalization.  

Encourage discussions and training sessions on intersectionality. This can involve hosting workshops, inviting speakers from diverse backgrounds, and creating platforms where employees can share their experiences. By fostering an environment where all voices are heard and respected, you ensure that Pride is not just a celebration for a few, but a movement that includes everyone.

2. Support Transgender and Non-Binary Employees

Transgender and non-binary individuals often face distinct challenges, both in and out of the workplace. To make Pride more inclusive, it’s essential to actively support these employees. This can involve implementing policies that recognize and respect their gender identities, such as allowing employees to use their chosen names and pronouns in all official documents and communications.

Ensure that healthcare benefits are inclusive of transgender-specific needs, including coverage for hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgeries. Provide training for all employees on transgender issues to build a more supportive and knowledgeable workplace.

3. Encourage Allyship Among All Employees

Creating an inclusive environment is a collective effort that requires the support of all employees. As a leader, you can foster a culture of allyship by encouraging all employees to stand up for and support their LGBTQ+ colleagues as well as those from other historically marginalized communities.

Develop allyship programs that include training sessions, discussion groups, and resource materials to educate employees on how to be effective allies. Highlight and reward acts of allyship within the organization to reinforce its importance. When everyone is involved in creating an inclusive environment, the impact of Pride becomes more powerful and far-reaching.

4. Engage with the Broader Community

Inclusivity should extend beyond the walls of your organization. Engage with the broader LGBTQ+ community by partnering with local LGBTQ+ organizations, supporting community events, and participating in advocacy efforts.

Encourage your employees to volunteer with LGBTQ+ organizations and provide them with the time and resources to do so. By building strong relationships with the broader community, you demonstrate your commitment to inclusivity and create opportunities for learning and collaboration.

5. Measure and Improve

Inclusivity is an ongoing process that requires regular assessment and improvement. Implement mechanisms to measure the inclusivity of your organization, such as employee surveys, feedback sessions, and diversity audits.

Use this data to identify areas for improvement and develop action plans to address them. Regularly review and update your policies and practices to ensure they remain inclusive and effective. By continuously striving to improve, you demonstrate your commitment to creating a truly inclusive environment.

6. Lead by Example

As a gay business leader, your actions and attitudes set the tone for your organization. Lead by example by visibly supporting and advocating for inclusivity. Show your commitment through your words and actions, whether it’s speaking out against discrimination, supporting inclusive policies, or simply being open about your own experiences.

Your leadership can inspire others to embrace inclusivity and create a ripple effect throughout the organization and beyond. By embodying the spirit of Pride, you can help foster a more inclusive and supportive environment for everyone.

Taking Pride to new heights means ensuring it is inclusive of all identities within the LGBTQ+ community and beyond. As a gay business leader, you have the power to drive this change. By promoting intersectionality, supporting transgender and non-binary employees, encouraging allyship, engaging with the community, measuring progress, and leading by example, you can make Pride a year-round celebration of diversity and inclusion. In doing so, you not only strengthen your organization but also contribute to a more equitable and inclusive world.

About the Author

Ash Beckham is an inclusion activist, inclusive leadership expert, professional trainer, workshop facilitator, motivational speaker, business leader and author of Step Up: How to Live with Courage and Become an Everyday Leader Known for her unique voice, intrepid, relatable and intrinsically comic style, and powerful guidance, Beckham’s TEDx Talk “Coming Out of Your Closet” became a fast viral sensation. A popular speaker and leadership educator, she frequently addresses topics including embracing a different vision of leadership to create change in our workplaces, schools, places of worship, communities and more.  Ash has presented keynotes and workshops for more than 200 corporate, government and collegiate events and conferences including The Boeing Company, Bank of America, Microsoft, the Out and Equal Summit, and others, on topics around inclusion, inclusive leadership, DEI, and more.

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