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During June, one is hard-pressed to miss the avalanche of rainbow marketing flooding our inboxes, social media feeds, and many of our favourite stores. Yet, while we revel in this outpouring of visibility that LGBTQ2+ activists and trailblazers before us likely only dreamed about, we’re also cautious.  
We know that generating Pride-themed logos, products, and company swag does not equate to a business doing the difficult internal work that makes their workplace safe and supportive of sexual and gender diversity. At our most cynical, we worry that these external-facing affirmations of the community create a façade that allows companies to attract people and cultivate a market segment without actually taking an inventory of their policies, personnel, procedures, and partnerships. Does Pride-themed branding really matter when an LGBTQ2+ person can join a company and not find themselves reflected in leadership, in how policies are written, or the resources and professional development opportunities available?
As many members of the queer community wisely remind us, Pride is a protest. This is another way of saying that it is not just a time for celebration but also a time to create change and challenge the status quo. Pride is about championing outsiders and recognizing no one should be degraded or disadvantaged for who they are or who they love. Keeping these foundational values of Pride in mind, here are some things that you and your company can do to celebrate Pride during June and year-round.

-  Keith Plummer, Director of Research & Learning (They/Them)

Push Boundaries

Pride is not the time to play it safe and toe the line. Instead, it is the time for thoughtful disruption and commotion around how to be more inclusive. Instead of the standard rainbow flag, consider Philadelphia's 'More Color, More Pride' flag or the 'Progress' Pride flag created by Daniel Quasar, which expands traditional rainbow symbolism to celebrate Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) and the transgender community.

Pride also requires us to move beyond symbolism and into tangible action. Ask yourself what your company is doing to meaningful move the dial of LGBTQ2+ inclusion, and how they might productively push the envelope such as making their stance for LGBTQ2+ inclusion explicit domestically and in other international areas of operation - especially where there are still egregious LGBTQ2+ human rights issues.

Embrace The Acronym & All The Diversity Within It 

We can sometimes fall into the trap of utilizing the entire LGBTQ2+ acronym when really our efforts are disproportionately focused on certain strands of the community. Every character represents an identity, and sometimes we use the acronym when our programming or representation is really only reflective of select queer realities. 

Decolonizing Pride

We must take the task of decolonizing LGBTQ2+ spaces and Pride seriously. In fact, prior to colonization and the superimposition of Eurocentric and Judeo-Christian values, most North American Indigenous cultures affirmed gender fluidity through their recognition of Two-Spirit identities. Across the world, gender diversity is as timeless as it is universal, only limited by conscious forces to suppress what should be celebrated

Taking part in decolonization and making more space for the revival of Indigenous traditions, cultures, languages, and practices helps us create a world of greater gender inclusion for trans, non-binary and non-conforming experiences. 

Crucial ways we can help to decolonize Pride and LGBTQ2+ spaces are:

Promoting LGBTQ2+ Inclusion in Your Workplace 

A critical way to foster LGBTQ2+ inclusion during Pride is to adopt leading company practices. You can:

Digital Land Acknowledgement

Feminuity was founded on land that is the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples and is home to many First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples.  

As a remote team, we encourage our team members, clients, and partners to reflect on colonialism’s enduring legacy and engage in reconciliation meaningfully. We encourage everyone to visit Whose Land and access the Indigenous Ally Toolkit by Dakota Swiftwolfe.

Creator Feature 🖊️ 📣

Chrystos is a Menominee writer, lecturer, and two-spirit activist who has published various books and poems that explore Indigenous Americans’ civil rights, social justice, and feminism. They won the Audre Lorde International Poetry Competition in 1994.

Connect with Chrystos
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