June is Pride Month here in the US! While there are many events and days of recognition for the LGBTQ+ community year-round (and worldwide!), June is the recognition month nationally established by the LGBTQ+ community here in the States since 1970, one year after the Stonewall riots in June 1969. Fifty years later, we’re still fighting to end discrimination and gain social and legal equality. June is a month jam-packed with events to commemorate those that fought for decades to get the rights we have today, as well as celebrate our achievements and the huge and diverse community still fighting for progress today.
Author note: I’ll be using the word ‘queer’ in this post. While it does have a history of being used as a slur, in the past several decades it’s been reclaimed and reappropriated into common use by the LGBTQ+ community, which I am part of. ‘Queer’ can still be a pejorative in a derogatory or exclusionary context, and thus it should be used consciously and carefully.
There’s a lot of debate over corporate involvement with Pride and the queer community. Big names lending their visibility and funding to the community helps queer-beneficial non-profit organizations reach further to distribute resources and educate the public, which in turn helps dispel misinformation and the stigma around the community. Corporate sponsorships also fund a lot of big, highly successful LGBTQ+ events in major cities all over the world.
It’s not always easy to see past the rainbow branding though. Which of the companies handing out rainbow-bedecked logo stickers and swag at Pride are still practicing hiring discrimination, giving money to anti-LGBTQ+ causes, or partnering with other companies that work against the queer community? It’s hard to tell without in-depth research which companies actually put their values where their PR is.
Mycroft, though we’re currently just a start-up in the tech community, practices the same fair-hiring standards and employee inclusivity that all companies should be held to. And as always, we’d like to emphasize our support to the people constantly working to help our product and employees reach new standards of excellence; the Mycroft Community. If you’re interested in using the Mycroft logo to show your support for the LGBTQ+ community, I’ve updated last year’s Pride logo to reflect our brand updates and the Philadelphia Pride flag.
Those of us in the queer community are always happy to give advice to those outside of the community looking to be supportive!
Learn about the LGBTQ+ community and terminology: we absolutely love when people know even just the basics, and when they’re enthusiastic to learn more. This guide to terminology helps outline a few common identities and topics about the community, as well as terms to avoid using: http://www.glaad.org/sites/default/files/allys-guide-to-terminology_1.pdf
Be a good listener: if someone chooses to share their identity with you or talk about what they’re going through, give them the conversation space to open up. Don’t change the subject, interject, or try to relate their experience with your identity or something you read. When they’re done, thank them for sharing and ask how you can support them. If they mention wanting resources, you can help them. Here are two links to resource lists that can be beneficial for allies as well as LGBTQ+ community members:
Help spread awareness: LGBTQ+ support and awareness come in many forms! If you’d like to help promote equality and inclusion, there are many things people all over the world can do regardless of location or identity. It can be as simple as being cognizant of inequality issues in your government, community, or workplace, and speaking up against discriminatory behavior. Dispelling misinformation and the stigma around the queer community is what opens the door for change and growth.
Bonus: Did you know that you, everyone you know, and even your company as a whole can go through training on LGBTQ+ understanding and inclusion?