How Your Organization Can Support LGBTQ People
We are heartbroken
In June the Supreme Court made three shocking decisions. (1) They suggested creatives can refuse to service LGBTQ folks if it is against their beliefs, (2) reversed affirmative action in college & university admissions, (3) rejected Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan.
That’s not the last of it, there are 474+ active anti-Trans bills across the country. Trans legislators being banned from the floor of their house of government. Families with Trans children fleeing the 14 states that have banned gender-affirming care. And the 18 additional states are considering bans. We sink deeper into feelings of sadness, heartbrokenness and anger.
Where do employers fit in
When I work with employers, they oftentimes say things like, “We don’t know enough about this issue to speak out about it” or “Our company isn’t in a good financial position so we need to pause” or “Our company is in the middle of (insert some other corporate priority) so we need to wait on speaking out about this.”
It’s time that everyone asked ourselves a very basic question, “When, exactly, is enough enough?” The consequences are clear for LGBTQ people but employers haven’t figured out that their silence on anti-LGBTQ attacks weakens their employer brands, their ability to recruit top talent and their trust among employees that they mean what they say when it comes to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. If you’re reading this, you might be ready for action. Here’s some ideas to get you going.
- Public statements that clearly articulate the issue, the company’s stance on the issue, the impact it has on LGBTQ people and what the company is doing to mitigate the issue.
- Educate people leaders and team leads on what is happening and ensure they make it known that they are willing to support and provide accommodations to people who are impacted by these attacks.
- Rethink investments in states and localities that have an anti-LGBTQ agenda. (This includes office expansions, events, business travel, etc.) Use your influence to ensure that elected officials are aware that these attacks are making it harder for you to do business.
- Inclusive benefits for members of the Trans community that go beyond simply providing a healthcare plan that says it doesn’t have exclusions for medically necessary care. Where are affirming providers in your organization’s locality? How can you support Trans employees when they have to fight insurance companies to get their care covered?
- Defund politicians that sponsor or co-sponsor anti-LGBTQ legislation, pressure those currently in office to support LGBTQ issues
- Create avenues for employees to switch their work assignment, office or other work arrangement to avoid interfacing with or living in hostile environments for LGBTQ people
- Lend the company’s name to petitions advocating for pro-LGBTQ legislation. The Human Rights Campaign Coalition for the Equality Act is a good example
- Co-sponsor statements with other companies that amplify a pro-LGBTQ voice such as the Human Rights Campaign Business Statement on Anti-LGBTQ State Legislation
- Nonpartisan voter registration and issue education to encourage a broader understanding of how elections impact our community
- Rethink relationships with suppliers, customers and other third parties that engage with your organization. Are you doing business with groups that are actively working to roll back the rights of LGBTQ people? If so, are you aware of the cognitive dissonance that LGBTQ people experience when you say you value us but then you’re willing to stay in bed with organizations that want to eliminate us?
- Drive donations to community organizations on the ground in your locality who are on the front lines of this fight. In Minnesota, that would be Children’s MN, Family Tree Clinic, OutFront MN, Transforming Families, MN Transgender Health Coalition and Queerspace Collective. More importantly, build relationships with these organizations, subscribe to their updates, pay their leaders to come in and speak about their work.