Remembering Pulse Victims and Looking Toward an Inclusive Future
Today marks three years since a terrorist murdered 49 people and wounded 53 others at Pulse, a gay nightclub in ACCP’s hometown of Orlando. This mass shooting took place just over a year after gay marriage was legalized across the nation and rocked the LGBTQIA+ community to its core. Following this tragedy, the owners of Pulse created the onePULSE Foundation, which aims to create a memorial and educational museum dedicated to the victims, as well as provide grants for the victim’s families and scholarships for LGBTQIA+ youth.
As the queer and allied communities across the nation come together to celebrate Pride Month, it is imperative to remember the past and work toward a more inclusive and loving future. Here are five ways to create a safe and inclusive space for your LGBTQIA+ employees.
Celebrate Pride in a Meaningful Way
- Right now, the Human Rights Campaign finds that only 63% of organizations are publicly committed to supporting the LGBTQIA+ community. It is imperative that organizations truly consider how they can support the queer community. A rainbow logo is a wonderful sentiment but is empty if the company is not, for example, upholding internal anti-discrimination policies. In the same vein, selling pride products without a donation to or support for a queer organization is considered rainbow-washing. Queer consumers are fiercely loyal to brands that not only celebrate pride, but also give back to organizations that offer financial or political support to the LGBTQIA+ community.
Offer and Support LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Groups
- Offering a LGBTQIA+ employee resource group not only shows company support, but also connects employees who may be in similar situations. These groups are vital in establishing a grassroots community of queer employees and often lay the first bricks to larger diversity and inclusion efforts. Consider opening the ERG to allies as well – this may allow employees who are not out in the workplace to become involved discretely.
Establish and Uphold Antidiscrimination Policies
- As of this post, there are no federal-level antidiscrimination policies in place to protect sexual orientation or gender-identity in the workplace. An effort to correct this, The Equality Act, recently passed in the House, but has stalled in the Senate. While a federal law is ideal, many organizations are working internally to ensure equality and protection. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 93% of Fortune 500 businesses include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policy, and 85% include gender identity. In order to protect current employees and entice potential employees, companies should reevaluate their antidiscrimination policies and ensure they are inclusive.
Offer Inclusive Benefits
- Inclusive benefits can help bring in new talent and retain current employees. For example, many companies are moving from “maternal” to “parental” leave to include both partners. However, the Human Rights Campaign found that only 62% of organizations provide transgender-inclusive benefits. This can include health benefits such as medical appointments, surgery, counseling, and more. Many plans are discriminatory in this instance, but companies can solidify support of transgender employees by ensuring equality in benefits.
Rethink Communications and New Employee Training
- Education is key to acceptance. From day one, employees should understand that equality is a pillar of a company. Inviting a queer-identifying employee to speak to new hires on equality or requiring LGBTQIA+ inclusive sensitivity training is imperative and will make queer employees feel at home. Simply enough, adjusting the verbiage in meetings or emails and allowing employees to advertise their pronouns can have a hugely positive impact on non-binary or trans employees. Instead of “ladies and gentlemen”, use “honored guests”, “friends”, or if you’re a neighbor of ACCP, “Y’all”!
ACCP joins the LGBTQIA+ community in remembering the victims.
- Stanley Almodovar III, 23
- Amanda Alvear, 25
- Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26
- Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33
- Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21
- Martin Benitez Torres, 33
- Antonio D. Brown, 30
- Darryl R. Burt II, 29
- Jonathan A. Camuy Vega, 24
- Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28
- Simon A. Carrillo Fernandez, 31
- Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25
- Luis D. Conde, 39
- Cory J. Connell, 21
- Tevin E. Crosby, 25
- Franky J. Dejesus Velazquez, 50
- Deonka D. Drayton, 32
- Mercedez M. Flores, 26
- Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22
- Juan R. Guerrero, 22
- Paul T. Henry, 41
- Frank Hernandez, 27
- Miguel A. Honorato, 30
- Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40
- Jason B. Josaphat, 19
- Eddie J. Justice, 30
- Anthony L. Laureano Disla, 25
- Christopher A. Leinonen, 32
- Brenda L. Marquez McCool, 49
- Jean C. Mendez Perez, 35
- Akyra Monet Murray, 18
- Kimberly Morris, 37
- Jean C. Nieves Rodriguez, 27
- Luis O. Ocasio-Capo, 20
- Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25
- Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36
- Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32
- Enrique L. Rios Jr., 25
- Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37
- Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24
- Christopher J. Sanfeliz, 24
- Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35
- Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25
- Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34
- Shane E. Tomlinson, 33
- Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25
- Luis S. Vielma, 22
- Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37
- Jerald A. Wright, 31