When it comes to the very crucial difference between meaningful celebration and performative allyship, most of us might feel like — and prepare yourself for a deep cut here — Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart. When asked in 1964 how he defined obscenity, Stewart was unable to provide a strict description but shared the now-iconic phrase: “I know it when I see it.”
That might resonate with those of us who have watched companies eschew traditional diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts throughout the year, only to emblazon their social media with rainbows come June 1st. 🤦Obviously (obviously!!) there’s so much more to a thoughtful, inclusive, supportive acknowledgement of Pride Month and the LGBTQ+ community at large than ROYGBIV-ifying a logo, but what that specifically looks like isn’t always clear.
So this month, instead of just sitting back and cringing when other orgs get it wrong, we’re putting our
money blog where our mouth is to offer you actual ideas for fun and meaningful ways to celebrate Pride Month. Six of them, to be specific, all of which accomplish our goals of educating and building awareness, empowering the LGBTQ+ community, and reinforcing more inclusive workplace practices … and that don’t break the bank. Let’s jump in.
👑 Host a drag pageant
This might mean hiring local drag performers or — if your workforce is ultra-talented — inviting employees to volunteer to perform. Remember that the definition of drag is broad, including drag kings, drag queens, gender-nonconforming drag personas, etc.
Each contestant can perform in honor of an LGBTQ+ focused charity of their choice. Employees then use donations to vote for a winner (committing as much or as little as they’d like), with all the money donated to the cause chosen by the winner.
🔕 Facilitate an employee-led silent auction
Employees will select prizes to auction off: anything from baked goods, to a guitar lesson, to a yoga class led by them. Their coworkers then bid on the prize without knowing how much anyone else is offering, and the highest bid wins.
Once the prizes have been distributed, all the money raised will go to an LGBTQ+ focused charity of the employee’s choice; you can either have employees vote for where they’d like their contributions to go, or leave the decision up to the person whose prize raises the most money.
🎟️ Sponsor a trivia raffle
At the start of every week for the duration of Pride Month, drop a trivia question focused on LGBTQ+ education on Slack, or wherever you communicate as a team. Even better? Get your employees more invested by having them submit the trivia questions and answers.
Make sure you don’t limit yourself to historical questions, either. Sprinkle in educational questions, like defining the terms nonbinary or queer, asking what it means when someone uses the pronouns she/they, or asking about the difference between gender identity and expression, for example.
At the end of the week, announce the winner, chosen at random from one of the folks who responded correctly. If you want to up the ante even further, ask the question live during a company town hall; the first person to answer correctly gets the prize.
Speaking of the prize, look for those that give back to the LGBTQ+ community — for example, retailers that partner with The Trevor Project.
🔦 Pass the mic for an LGBTQ+ pioneer spotlight
Offering about a week of lead-time if possible, invite folks on the team to create a slide that highlights and teaches about a pioneer in the LGBTQ+ community.
Then, set aside five or so minutes for the person to present their slide at All-Hands or a Team Sync, leaving time for questions and being sure to drop the slide and any relevant links into Slack after the meeting to people can click through at their leisure.
🗣️ Play Pride bingo
Create a bingo card with each square devoted to an LGBTQ+ musical artist. Note that there’s an opportunity here to lean on your design-minded colleagues if they’re eager to contribute, but that no one should be pressured into doing extra work.
Once the card is created, host a happy hour event with a soundtrack — this can be either in-person or virtual — and make sure every attendee has a bingo card. (This is a great idea to have happen in tandem with another event.)
As each song plays, employees can check their cards to see if the artist is featured there. If they get a bingo, great and if nobody ends up winning, that’s great too. It means everyone was too absorbed in the event to get caught up with keeping track.
💻 Foster creativity with an inclusivity hackathon:
Group your employees into pairs or breakout groups and give them a set amount of time to brainstorm how to boost LGBTQ+ inclusivity in the workplace.
Designate a few judges to vote (we’d say no more than five, and ideally folks should be well-positioned to actually implement improvements), and ask teams to present their ideas. (For bonus points, hire drag performers or ask employees from your org’s LGBTQ+ ERG to act as judges.)
The winning team gets a prize that benefits or supports the LGBTQ+ community.
Continue the conversation with Ethena’s best-in-class trainings
These are just a few ideas, but we think about stuff like this all the time (it’s quite literally our job), so we’d love to continue the conversation. For more content like what you just read, feel free to send yourself our Pride nudge, which was created by an all-queer writing, editing, and multimedia team and remains one of our most popular trainings. Or reach out if you’d like to chat with a member of our sales team about implementing our DEI training or our flagship Harassment Prevention course.