June is Pride Month, and you know what that means: weeks of rainbow-drenched parades, festivals, and parties. So many parties. But how do you celebrate LGBTQ pride at work? Although we're fortunate to live in a time when some people can openly celebrate their sexuality, that's certainly not true of every workplace. According to a 2011 report, up to 43 percent of LGBTQ workers reported being harassed in some way due to their orientation or gender identity, and pretty much any LGBTQ individual has at least one anecdote supporting this. (At a job I held right out of college, for instance, someone told me within days of being hired that bisexual people don't really exist, and I would eventually have to pick a side. Not exactly harassment, but certainly weird.)
But if you're comfortable sharing about your sexuality or gender identity at work, Pride Month is a great excuse — probably the best excuse, actually, unless George Takei makes a surprise appearance at your workplace — to let your Pride flag fly a little higher than usual. While the recent Orlando massacre is a reminder that the world is still a dangerous place for the LGBTQ community, Pride Month is a time for celebrating our progress as well as looking forward to the future. And so, without further ado, let's look at five ways to celebrate LGBTQ Pride at work.
1. Wear LGBTQ Pride Apparel
Theoretically, "LGBTQ Pride apparel" might mean anything from wearing rainbow jewelry to showing up with your face painted like a rainbow, but dress codes depend on where you work. As amazing as rainbow face paint may be, it's not exactly professional, and I'd suggest keeping things a little more subtle: rainbow earrings, gay pride socks, and so on.
2. Invite Your Co-Workers Out For Pride Festivities
Again, it's important to remain professional — unless your workplace is spectacularly chill, you probably don't want your co-workers to see you doing shots with a performer in a Pride parade. Fortunately, all kinds of events take place during Pride Month that don't involve partying: races, queer film screenings, and more.
3. Arrange An LGBTQ Seminar
Many LGBTQ organizations offer training seminars to increase workplace sensitivity year-round, but they're particularly in-demand during Pride Month. If your employer hasn't held one since you began working there, you may want to ask them to schedule some sort of LGBTQ sensitivity training.
4. Collect Donations For An LGBTQ Charity
Although Pride Month is certainly fun, it's also a chance to support the LGBTQ community, so you may want to consider collecting donations from your workplace for a local LGBTQ charity. If it's possible, you could even see if the company itself will donate.
5. Talk About Your Own Experiences
If you treat your own LGBTQ experiences the same way as your heterosexual co-workers do their own — being professional, but not going out of your way to hide your dating life — you might be surprised how quickly people adapt. Of course, this only applies if you feel comfortable with your sexuality or gender identity being known, and you should never feel pressured to reveal private details of your life. On the other hand, if you've been waiting for the right time to talk openly about your sexuality, it might be today. The best way to normalize something is to treat it like it's already normal.