Luis Augusto Nobre
Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Pride at Work Canada/Fierté au travail Canada
Every June, we see Pride flags in front of buildings and inside offices. People talk about the importance of the LGBTQ2+ movement and equal rights. Educational workshops and training sessions are organized to spread awareness around the use of pronouns and the importance of gender-neutral washrooms. Events and celebrations are created to celebrate the historical Stonewall riot for LGBTQ2+ rights. Rainbows are everywhere, decorating spaces and cities with their colours and giving some sense of community and freedom. However, when July comes, everything stops, and the other months lose the colours of a movement that happens all year long.
LGBTQ2+ communities celebrate their own existence beyond Pride month. Many groups continue to develop community engagement and activities raising awareness and fighting for trans and queer inclusion. The reality in other countries may be tough with criminalization and death penalties, but things are still challenging in Canada, too, despite the false sense of security. Conversion therapy, violations, violence, and inequity are a common reality for queer, trans, and bisexual Canadians. Some studies and reports show that trans and bisexual people (mainly bisexual women) earn less than other social groups. This is why it’s so important to continue engaging and educating people for healthier and more inclusive communities.
With that idea in mind, Pride at Work Canada/Fierté au travail Canada was created in 2008 to support employers to build inclusive workplaces and to celebrate their employees regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. For over a decade, this non-profit organization has been offering institutional education and guidance to its partners that make a commitment to supporting LGBTQ2+ inclusion. Its services help employers to realize that well-developed diversity and inclusion policies and equitable opportunities bring many benefits to businesses, increasing productivity and reflecting directly on more profitable companies.
But even with the commitment to develop better and safer spaces for LGBTQ2+ professionals, employers have to recognize that inclusion is not a to-do list to be checked or a nice-to-have policy, celebrating their staff only in Pride month. It’s a journey that the whole organization should walk through together. The process will create a sense of belonging to everyone and gives opportunities for collaborative work not just related to LGBTQ2+ issues but to all aspects of someone’s identity.
Using the intersectionality approach to build and update the policies, companies and organizations work with best practices and ensure a more inclusive work environment. Staff members and leaders could be considered better allies for LGBTQ2+ professionals and communities because they will feel more appreciated and recognized for their contributions. Our vision is “A nation where every individual can achieve their full potential at work regardless of gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation.” When we work on LGBTQ2+ inclusion, we want to be in a place that everyone can achieve their full potential.