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Pride Month Q&A: How can you be a good LGBTQIA+ ally in the workplace?

To kick off Pride Month, the Clarity Quest team shares their thoughts on the question “how can you be a good LGBTQIA+ ally in the workplace?

Here’s what our team had to say:

Chris Slocumb, President and Founder

Really listen to each other especially when your colleagues talk about life experiences outside of work and family history.

Foster a culture where team members feel comfortable speaking up if someone is being insensitive.

Leadership has to be willing to lose customers that don’t agree with your employees’ lifestyle choices. There probably is going to be a fit disconnect issue anyway.

Companies that ride the fence stand for nothing.

Casey Frushour, Senior Director of Creative Services

I think the best ways to be an LGBTQIA+ ally in the workplace are to:

  1. Be educated
  2. Listen without judgment
  3. Stand up for people.

Knowing the history of the LGBTQIA+ community and current events that affect their daily lives will allow you to have more informed conversations with people. You’ll also be in a better position to be more empathetic and accountable. Simply listening to someone without inserting any judgment or questioning can go a long way too in that you’re allowing them to open up and talk about something very important and personal to them, which they may not feel comfortable telling others. Standing up for people in the LGBTQIA+ community by, for example, calling out any offensive language you hear will make people feel like they are supported and protected in the work environment. As a more proactive measure, having human resources add language to the employee handbook helping to protect the community is also a great way to show your support.

David Gomez, Account Director

I think we can be good allies by being open-minded and understanding of people that are LGBTQIA+. It’s important to understand that we live in a diverse world where being an ally is a value most people share.

Lindsay Groth, Account Director

It’s my job to build understanding and awareness and ensure that biases stand corrected. I never want a colleague to feel that they can’t ask questions because they think they may be perceived as ignorant.

There is way too much question censoring going on today, resulting in us having fewer conversations. Conversations often build common ground.

Melanie Hilliard, Account Director + Content Lead

Being an LGBTQIA+ ally in the workplace is about looking at the work I do from all perspectives. As a person who develops a lot of content for companies, I need to ask myself if the work I produce is inclusive or exclusive in the language, themes, and details referenced—this includes stock photos and emojis, too. Representation matters and we should all challenges ourselves to include pictures, images, and perspectives from people who may not look like me.

Also, amplifying LGBTQIA+ voices is essential to educating ourselves, colleagues, and others in our lives. We need to read and share more stories about experiences (good and bad) in the workplace.

Spencer Rohatynski, Digital Marketing Manager

The same way we can be good people in our daily lives. Be respectful, courteous, and kind. Be straightforward, and treat others how you’d want to be treated.

Brian Shilling, Executive Vice President of Client Operations

Make sure everyone feels included, comfortable, and not judged. Listen more than you speak, and take cues from the individual to understand their preferences, language, and comfort zones.

Marla Sokolowski, Senior Director of Digital Marketing

Welcome. Support. Listen. Advocate.

Becoming a good ally goes beyond corporate policy. It’s at a much-needed human level.
Welcome team members, and be fully supportive of any differences. Challenge yourself to use your voice for others who don’t have or are fearful to use it, and advocate to improve the workplace and society. Recognize that life isn’t easy for the community, and serving as an ally is needed both inside and outside the office.

Rayna Southart, Content Marketing Manager

Truly listen and learn about others’ experiences that may not look like your own. Use your voice to address workplace biases or prejudice. Respect others’ desired pronouns and any boundaries they may have. Foster an environment that embraces differences and rejects close-mindedness.

Melanie Hilliard

Author Melanie Hilliard

Melanie is an Account Director and Content Lead at Clarity Quest. Nothing makes her heart sing more than fantastic marketing. To learn more about Melanie's experiences and qualifications, visit our leadership team page.

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