top of page

10 Ways Founders & Business Leaders Can Foster LGBTQ+ Inclusion During PRIDE Month




As we celebrate PRIDE Month, it's an essential moment for founders and business leaders to reflect on their role in fostering inclusive and supportive environments for LGBTQ+ individuals. Whether you are just starting up or scaling your company, implementing inclusive practices can set the tone for your organization's culture.


Here are ten actionable steps you can take to ensure your company is a safe and welcoming place for LGBTQ+ employees, contractors, board members, and investors.




1. Educate Yourself and Your Team

Understanding LGBTQ+ issues and terminology is crucial. As a founder, attend workshops or training sessions that educate your team on these topics. Utilize resources from organizations like GLAAD or The Trevor Project to provide comprehensive and accurate information. Continuous learning fosters empathy and awareness, laying the groundwork for a supportive environment.


2. Revise Company Policies

From the outset, ensure that your company’s non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies explicitly protect LGBTQ+ individuals. Clearly communicate these policies in your employee handbook and during onboarding sessions. Regularly review and update them to reflect best practices and legal requirements.


3. Use Inclusive Language and Communication

Set an example by using inclusive language in all your communications. Encourage your team to use gender-neutral terms and respect everyone’s preferred pronouns. Provide guidelines and training on inclusive language to make it a part of your company’s culture.


4. Support LGBTQ+ Initiatives

Demonstrate your commitment by supporting LGBTQ+ initiatives. Partner with or donate to LGBTQ+ organizations and causes like IYG, Gender Nexus, and the Damien Center. Encourage your team to participate in volunteer efforts. This not only shows your support but also helps build strong community ties.


5. Celebrate PRIDE

Participate in local PRIDE events or host your own celebrations. Virtual events, office decorations, or sponsoring PRIDE parades are great ways to show your support visibly. Celebrating PRIDE boosts morale and emphasizes your commitment to inclusion.


6. Create Safe Spaces

Foster a sense of community by establishing a committee of supporters, Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), or safe spaces for LGBTQ+ employees. These groups can provide mutual support, share experiences, and ensure that everyone feels they belong. As a founder, actively support these initiatives and attend meetings to show your engagement.


7. Highlight LGBTQ+ Stories

Share and celebrate the stories and achievements of LGBTQ+ individuals within your organization. Feature these stories in your company’s blog, newsletters, or social media channels. Recognition and visibility of these contributions help create an inclusive culture.


8. Offer Inclusive Benefits

From the beginning, ensure your company's benefits are inclusive. Provide healthcare benefits that cover same-sex partners, mental health support, and inclusive parental leave policies. Inclusive benefits demonstrate your commitment to the well-being of all employees.


9. Encourage Open Dialogue with Leadership

Create opportunities for open dialogue between LGBTQ+ employees and company leadership. Regular town halls, feedback sessions, or one-on-one meetings can help address concerns and gather valuable feedback. Showing that leadership is approachable and listens to everyone’s voices reinforces trust and inclusivity.


10. Make Your Support Visible

Visibility matters. Display symbols of PRIDE, such as flags or stickers, in your office and on your website. Highlight your support for the LGBTQ+ community through your marketing and branding efforts. This visible support can significantly reinforce your commitment to inclusivity.


11. BONUS! Join and Volunteer at Local LGBTQ+ Organizations

Allies aren't just welcome at most LGBTQ+ organizations - they're needed! If you happen to live in Indiana, be sure to join the Indy Rainbow Chamber of Commerce. This fun and well-connected group hosts monthly networking events and maintains a directly of LGBTQ+ owned businesses. Be sure to look for them and support them.


Conclusion

Founders have a unique opportunity to shape the culture of their organizations from the ground up. By taking these ten actions, you can ensure that your startup is not only inclusive but also a leader in promoting LGBTQ+ equality and support. As we celebrate PRIDE Month, lets commit to making lasting changes that reflect our dedication to creating safe, welcoming, and inclusive environments for everyone.


Thank you for being part of The Startup Ladies community and for your continuous efforts to drive positive change.

Comments


bottom of page