Written by Nisha Chandran & Manasa Sai
Despite the second wave of pandemic, June brings with us the optimism and positivity of yet another Pride Month. And as always, Pride month is filled with possibilities – possibilities of hope, cheer, inclusion, compassion, respect and empathy.
History Of Pride month
Going back to trace the history, we celebrate Pride month in June to honor the Stonewall Uprising (that happened in 1969) in Manhattan, New York. The Stonewall Uprising was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States and hence, in the United States the last Sunday in June was initially celebrated as “Gay Pride Day.” On 28 June 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn – a bar in the gay area of New York, US and propelled 200 people onto the streets. This incident stirred the gay community and they expressed their rage through protests. News of the riots spread across the world, and other protests and rights groups joined the riot to fight for equality. After this incident, UK honoured this community by celebrating the first Pride in 1972. Thus, an entire month is dedicated to uplift, celebrate, and support LGBTQ culture. Throughout the month of June, worldwide, there are parades, protests, drag performances, live theatre, and memorials for members of the LGBTQ community.
Several lockdowns across the world due to COVID-19 has completely changed the way we work. COVID has reinvented the way we celebrate too.
It is time for Virtual Pride Month celebrations
The benefits of celebrating Pride virtually are enormous, it has given us the opportunity to be intentional about using digital media to enhance visibility and representation across our entire community. Virtual Pride events make it accessible to people who have never been able to witness pride events before.
Here are a few ideas on how we can celebrate Pride month meaningfully, the virtual way, this year.
- Enhance learning about LGBTQ+ community through experience sharing sessions by Role models from the community: Hosting a virtual discussion with LGBTQ+ Icons and role models will enable employees, along with their friends and family to spread Pride awareness. Fireside chats, Panel discussions and Ask Me Anything sessions will encourage employee engagement, and bring awareness about the LGBTQ community with ease.
- Pride themed Email Signatures, Virtual meeting backgrounds and Digital Photo frames: Organizations can show that they care about LGBTQ communities by updating their email signatures with statements such as ‘I am an ally’. Pride themed virtual backgrounds that can be used in Zoom, Teams & Webex meetings are an easy way to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. Pride themed photo frames can be used by employees in their social media profiles like LinkedIn. These initiatives will also create curiosity in the minds of other stakeholders like clients and vendors to learn more about LGBTQ community.
- Supporting businesses run LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs: By supporting and promoting businesses run by members from the LGBTQ+ community, organizations can send out a strong message of allyship. Such gestures strengthen the businesses by members from the queer community and also creates an indirect opportunity for employees to be part of a great social cause.
- Create Volunteering opportunities for employees to work with LGBTQ+ NOGs: There are several organizations that are doing great work advocating for LGBTQ+ issues and challenges. Often they are in need of more resources, volunteers, and donations. Use Pride month as an opportunity for employees to reach out and support such organizations.
- Organizing Virtual Pride Concerts and virtual Party nights: Organizations can invite performers from LGBTQ+ community to showcase their talent and educate their employees about LGBTQ community. Virtual parties with queer movies, online music concerts, book reading sessions on queer issues, online quizzes, trivia and Pride Bingo can be organized to and make learning interesting. Such party nights can also be extended to the families of the employees to create a much greater impact and enhance employee experience.
- Pride Employee Resource Groups: Organizations that do not have an existing ERG dedicated to LGBTQ+ community, can leverage this month to do so. This will not only create inclusion amongst the LGBTQ+ community, but will also create opportunities for several allies to come forward and support their colleagues.
Celebrating Pride month virtually creates a great opportunity for organizations to show their employees how much each individual is accepted and cared for, and this will enable them to bring their full selves to work.