PRIDE MONTH: How to host an authentic & inclusive event

Pride Month is a vibrant celebration of LGBTQ+ identity and history. For studios, hosting a Pride event is a chance to show genuine support for your LGBTQ+ employees and create a more inclusive workplace culture.

But how do you go beyond rainbows and glitter to create an authentic and meaningful experience? Here’s a guide to hosting a Pride event that celebrates diversity and empowers your LGBTQ+ staff.

Planning with Purpose:

  • Look Beyond ‘Gestures’: Don’t let your Pride event be a one-off gesture. Make a commitment to year-round initiatives that create a safe and inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ employees. This includes anti-discrimination policies, gender-neutral bathrooms, and pronoun education.
  • Employee Input is Key: Involve LGBTQ+ employees in the planning process. Gather their suggestions for activities, speakers, and charities to support. This ensures the event reflects the diverse needs and interests of the LGBTQ+ community within your studio.
  • Accessibility Matters: Consider virtual options for remote employees. Ensure physical spaces are accessible for those with disabilities. Offer a variety of food choices to accommodate dietary restrictions.

Event Activities:

  • Education and Awareness: Host a ‘Lunch and Learn’ session with a speaker from an LGBTQ+ advocacy group, such as the industry organisation Out Making Games. Offer workshops on LGBTQ+ history, terminology, and allyship. This can promote understanding and creates a space for open conversations.
  • Celebration and Fun: Organise a lunch or a virtual social gathering with a Pride-themed playlist. Host a trivia night focused on LGBTQ+ icons and achievements. Encourage employees to wear Pride colours or express themselves authentically.
  • Community Connection: Partner with a local LGBTQ+ group. Volunteer as a company at a Pride parade or donate to a relevant cause. This demonstrates your commitment to supporting the wider LGBTQ+ community.
  • Employee Recognition: Create a safe space for LGBTQ+ employees to share their stories voluntarily. Highlight the contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals to your studio’s success. This can be done through presentations, employee testimonials, or social media posts.

Beyond the Event:

  • Inclusive Benefits: Review your health insurance plans to ensure coverage for gender-affirming healthcare. Consider offering parental leave policies that recognise same-sex couples.
  • Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): Establish or support an LGBTQ+ ERG. This provides a space for LGBTQ+ employees to connect, network, and advocate for their needs.
  • Ongoing Allyship: Educate managers on best practices for promoting an inclusive work environment. Encourage all employees to use preferred pronouns and respect LGBTQ+ identities.

Creating a Safe Space:

  • Set Clear Expectations: Establish a code of conduct for the event that prohibits discrimination or harassment. Ensure attendees understand the importance of respectful behaviour.
  • Provide Resources: Make information about LGBTQ+ resources readily available, including internal and external support services. This includes mental health support systems, LGBTQ+-allied legal resources, and discrimination reporting channels.
  • Anonymity is an Option: Offer opportunities for anonymous feedback about the event and suggestions for future initiatives. This allows employees to express themselves freely.

For more information on LGBTQ+ Advocacy Groups, click here.

Read on to learn more about what to consider regarding employee benefits for LGBTQ+ staff here.

And for a full overview on supporting LGBTQ+ employees, including legal requirements and links to support organisations, click here.

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