June kicks off Pride Month in the United States. This is a starting point resource for employers to actively support and recognize Pride Month in the workplace. Learn how your organization can celebrate Pride Month.
Pride Month is celebrated each year throughout June to honor the 1969 Stonewall uprising in New York City. The month is dedicated to commemorating activists from the rebellion and celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer pride.
Use the quick navigation links below to jump ahead to a specific topic:
- The History of Pride Month
- Why Pride Month Is Important
- How Pride Month is Traditionally Celebrated
- Employee Considerations
- How to Recognize Pride Month at Work
- TED Talks and Documentaries to Watch
- Books to Read
- Podcasts to Listen to
- Guest Speakers
- How Companies Are Celebrating
The History of Pride Month
Pride Month was born out of the Stonewall Uprising, which was a scenario between police and LGBTQIA+ protesters at the Stonewall Inn, which was a popular gay bar in New York City. At the time it was illegal in New York for bars to serve the LGBTQIA+ community. The Stonewall Uprising was led by Black activists, including Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Storme’ DeLarverie, and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy. The series of events started on June 28, 1969, and continued over six days, effectively changing the course of LGBTQIA+ history. The following year, the first Pride march was held in New York City. In the years after the uprising, Pride marches were held in cities across the nation and LGBTQIA+ groups increased nationwide.
In 1999, then President Bill Clinton declared June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, honoring the anniversary of Stonewall every June in America. In 2011, President Barack Obama expanded the officially recognized month to LGBT Pride Month to be more inclusive.
Important to note is that while Stonewall was the tipping point, the LGBTQIA+ community had been advocating for a long time. The LGBTQIA+ movement was borrowed from the Black Freedom Movement.
Also this month:
- National Caribbean American Heritage Month
- June 12 — Loving Day
- June 15 — LGBTQIA+ Equal Pay Awareness Day
- June 19 — Juneteenth
- June 28 — Pride Day
- June 28-29 — Eid al-Adha
Why Pride Month Is Important
Throughout June, Pride Month honors activists who fought for gay rights in the past and emphasizes the importance of continuing to fight for LGBTQIA+ equality. It’s also important to remember that the first pride was not a celebration but a riot, and in the years that followed, a celebration of pride was born.
Since Pride Month was first officially recognized in 1999, June has become a massive celebration for the LGBTQIA+ community. According to a Gallup poll, 4.5% of the U.S. population, approximately 11 million people, identify as LGBT. Of that 11 million, 88% are employed. Only 20 states plus D.C., however, have laws that explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
How Pride Month Is Traditionally Celebrated
The heart of Pride Month is recognizing the impact the LGBTQIA+ community has and continues to have on society. The month also serves as an opportunity to memorialize community members who have lost their lives to hate crimes, to advocating for LGBTQIA+ rights, and to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Additionally, it’s a celebration of what the LGBTQIA+ community has endured. Pride Month celebrations include parades, marches, picnics, and parties as well as music festivals that attract millions of people from around the world. Additionally, it is also an opportunity to educate others about the history of the LGBTQIA+ community through workshops, symposiums, and concerts.
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Pride Month Employee Considerations
Celebrating Pride in the workplace is a great opportunity to educate employees about LGBTQIA+ history and the discrimination they continue to face today. It’s also a chance for employers to promote awareness and equality within their companies. Employers could implement company-wide Pride Month events that promote the company’s DEI efforts. You should also ensure employee resource groups (ERGs) are given the space and opportunity to lead workshops, events, and programming centered around Pride. Employers can show their allyship to the LGBTQIA+ community by continuing to foster a space of equality beyond the month of June.
How to Recognize Pride Month at Work
Review your company healthcare policies. Does your organization offer inclusive medical care? Healthcare policies need to be inclusive for all, including to gender nonconforming employees and the trans community. Benefits should be specifically designed to enable your employees to build their families — such as fertility treatments, adoption or surrogacy support, and parental leave.
Evaluate revenue spend. If you have a supplier diversity program, is it inclusive? Your program should be well-staffed and diverse. If your organization donates to campaigns, are they supporting the LGBTQIA+ community? Do your research to make sure your spend aligns with your DEI-efforts.
Host workshops. Hire a trained professional to assist employees with improving their knowledge on LGBTQIA+ inclusion so they can be better allies during Pride Month and beyond. Consider working with a nonprofit such as Trans Can Work, which offers training on gender inclusion in the workplace.
Review company travel policies. Do not mandate travel to states that are high risk for LGBTQIA+ employees. For more information, review LGBTQIA+ policies by state, outlined in Equaldex’s LGBTQ Equality by State Map, Human Rights Campaign’s list, or Brandwatch’s LGBTQIA+ Handbook.
Invite guest speakers. Use a full-service speakers bureau, such as AAE Speakers, to book advocates and motivational speakers dedicated to Pride Month issues.
Update company email signatures. Add your pronouns to your email signature to help other employees feel comfortable sharing theirs. Take it a step further by making it a company-wide initiative. Consider reviewing Out & Equal’s pronoun guide or DEI consultant Lily Zheng’s visual guide to pronouns at work.
Volunteer. Offer a dedicated volunteer day for employees to gather for the greater good while also building camaraderie with their teammates. Examples of organizations to work with include Equality California and Equality New York.
Support LGBTQIA+ businesses. Support and donate to charities and nonprofits supporting the LGBTQIA+ community. A few examples include: The Trevor Project, Human Rights Campaign Foundation, Point Foundation, and Family Equality Council.
Choose a TED Talk or documentary to discuss. Recommend it at the start of the month and hold a panel discussion toward the end of the month.
Here are a few TED Talks to consider:
- LZ Granderson’s “The myth of the gay agenda” (2012)
- Yoruba Richen’s “What the gay rights movement learned from the civil rights movement” (2014)
- Tillett Wright’s “Fifty shades of gay” (2012)
- Andrew Solomon’s “Love, no matter what” (2013)
Here are a few documentaries to consider:
- “Disclosure” (2020; available on Netflix)
- “Pieces of Us” (2021; available on Apple TV and Amazon)
- “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson” (2017; available on Netflix)
- “Stonewall Uprising” (2010; available on Amazon and PBS)
- “Paris Is Burning” (1990; available on Amazon, HBO, and The Criterion Channel)
Partner with employee resource groups (ERGs). Work with ERGs to incorporate supplier diversity efforts. Provide the budgetary resources for LGBTQIA+ ERGs to host events around Pride Month. They can take their work a step further by partnering with a local organization to host an event.
Organize an event. Ensure all employees can interact in a safe space where everyone feels included. This could be a team or company-wide lunch.
Start a book club. There is a vast selection of books that recognize Pride Month. Choose a book at the start of the month so your team has time to finish it before a month-end discussion. We’ve mined the list of resources below from leading experts on Pride Month.
Books to Read for Pride Month
- “The Stonewall Reader,” by The New York Public Library (2019)
- “A Queer History of the United States,” by Michael Bronski (2012)
- “The Gay Revolution: The Story of Struggle,” by Lillian Faderman (2016)
- “The Heart’s Invisible Furies,” by John Boyne (2017)
- “The Tree and the Vine,” by Dola de Jong (1954)
- “Written in Invisible Ink,” by Hervé Guibert (2020)
- “Gender Diversity and Non-Binary Inclusion in the Workplace,” by J. Fernandez and Sarah Gibson (2018)
Podcasts for Pride Month
- Queer America explores the history of sexual orientation and gender identity in the United States. Hosts Leila Rupp and John D’Emilio help educators integrate LGBTQIA+ history into their curriculum.
- Making Gay History brings voices throughout LGBTQIA+ history to life through a series of intimate conversations with LGBTQIA+ champions, heroes, and witnesses.
- Unboxing Queer History is a podcast from Gerber/Hart Library and Archives. Each of its eight episodes explores a story from LGBTQIA+ history pulled from one of the largest LGBTQIA+ libraries and archives in the world.
Guest Speakers for Pride Month
- Brandon Wolf (he/him) is a Pulse nightclub shooting survivor as well as an activist and change maker. Since the 2016 shooting in Orlando, Florida, he has become a vocal champion for gun reform and equality for all. Wolf also founded The Dru Project, an LGBTQIA+ youth organization that cultivates inclusive school environments and provides college funding to emerging queer leaders.
- Lily Zheng (they/them) is a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant and strategist. Zheng works with company leaders to turn positive intentions into positive impact with employees. They were named to Forbes D&I Trailblazer list and honored as a top DEI influencer in 2021. Zheng also advocates for trans rights in their work and has written “Gender Ambiguity in the Workplace” along with “The Ethical Sellout: Maintaining Your Integrity in the Age of Compromise” and “DEI Deconstructed: Your No-Nonsense Guide to Doing the Work and Doing It Right.”
- Amber Hikes (they/she) is a social justice advocate and the chief of equity and inclusion for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). From an early age, Hikes proved a formidable community organizer. In 2018, they were named “Community Organizer of the Year” by OUT Magazine.
How Companies Are Celebrating Pride Month
Pride marches and events nationwide throughout June, including:
- June 2-11 — Capital Pride (D.C.)
- June 9-10 — LA Pride in the Park
- June 16 — Pride Social and Stonewall Exhibit (Dallas, Texas)
- June 17 — Columbus Pride (Ohio)
- June 25 — NYC Pride March
- June 25 — Chicago Pride Parade
- May 23 — Bloom hosts a LinkedIn talk on Observing Pride Month with Intention
- May 24 — Enabling World hosts expert panel Beyond Pride Month: Making LGBTQ+ Inclusion a Year-Round Effort
- May 26 — DEI Speaker Raven Solomon hosts talk How to Respectfully & Responsibly Recognize Pride Month
- June 1 — Out in Tech hosts event with LGBTQ+ speakers from Bloomberg and Disney
- June 5 — Steph Graham, admissions interviewer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, hosts an interview series LGBTQ In the Workplace
- June 6 — Equality Leaders hosts LGBTQ+ Voices Storytelling Series 2023: An Intersectional Perspective
In prior years:
- Kellogg Company celebrated pride with a unique campaign called “boxes are for cereal, not people.”
- Nordstrom celebrated Pride Month with a significant donation to FOLX Health to support the transgender community.
- iRobot kicked off Pride Month with a workshop on gender and gender pronouns in May. The organization also provided guides on Using Gender Pronouns at Work and Gender, Gender Identity and Transitioning at Work.
- Stanley Black & Decker held pride flag raising ceremonies across the globe to raise awareness and celebrate its inclusive culture.
Visit our DEI calendar for a complete list of holidays, events, and commemorations for DEI leaders to recognize throughout the year.