LGBT Pride Month – Five ideas for your organization to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall

With lots of useful links!

50 years ago on a weekend in late June in the Greenwich Village in New York City, a revolt took place that changed the course of history for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) people all over the world. Patrons of the Stonewall Tavern, led by several transgender women and drag queens stood up to unfair police brutality and stated that they would no longer let their human rights be unfairly trampled. Since that fateful night, most LGBT pride celebrations are held in late June.

This blog contains five suggestions for engaging your corporation or organization during June Pride Month, followed by a short history of major LGBT milestones in the US, starting with Stonewall 1969!

    Five ideas to recognize and celebrate LGBT Pride Month:

1) Bring me in to speak and train. I continue to offer myself as a nationally recognized LGBT diversity speaker and trainer for your employees, management training, or employee resource groups, with a broad range of 9 LGBT diversity workshops from the business oriented to the more lighthearted (including culture and history of LGBT in the US) to the more personal. In fact, why not invite me in for a day and I can do various meetings with HR leaders, managers, employees and your employee resource groups? Use this link to download my speaking packages that include topics and bio, or Email me at [email protected] to request the info.

2) Start a productive group dialogue around transgender people. Check out my recent blog, “Explore transgender diversity through a cool one-woman show,” about how JJ Marie Gufreda uses her edgy thought provoking show, including original music, to share experiences and to create open dialogue about transgender people.

3) Financially support the Pride in the Triangle’s LGBTQ+ Workplace Equity Toolkit, which we hope to launch this summer if we can raise the rest of the funds soon. Even if you are not in the Triangle region of North Carolina, you can still support this project and send participants to our 2-day “Training of Trainers” to be held in our area.

4) Take an online crash course. Whether you just want to be a better ally to LGBTQ people, or want to create a better workplace, home, or organization for everyone, consider this online LGBTQ Diversity Training Crash Course (link) from one of my business associates, Sean Kofosky. This inexpensive yet valuable offering covers basic LGBTQ terminology / definitions,the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity, ways anti-LGBTQ attitudes and behavior reach into many corners of society, and simple actions you can take to be an ALLY!

5) Make a contribution to your local LGBT Center. Google “LGBT Center” and find one in your city or town or nearby, and make a corporate contribution in honor of the Stonewall 50th anniversity. Or consider a similar contribution to your state’s LGBT Equality group.

The Stonewall Tavern, Circa 1969

    Very Short List of Selected Major Milestones

June 28 – 29, 1969: Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village, New York City

June, 1970: Christopher Street Liberation Day on June 28, 1970 marked the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots with an assembly on Christopher Street; with simultaneous Gay Pride marches in Los Angeles and Chicago.

December, 1973: The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.

1993: Minnesota became the first state to ban employment discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity when it passed its Human Rights Act.

October, 2002: The Human Rights Campaign introduces its Corporate Equality Index to measure corporate support of LGBT equality.

2009: Sexual orientation and gender identity added to US hate crime legislation.

June, 2015: The US Supreme Court rules for recognition of same-gender marriage in all 50 states.

June, 2016: President Obama announced the establishment of the Stonewall National Monument, a 7.7-acre site in Greenwich Village to be administered by the National Park Service.

Evolving Employee Resource Groups – a Creative Approach from Erie Insurance

Tesha L. Nesbit Arrington, Erie Insurance's Director of Diversity & Inclusion and Strategic Analytics, presented Erie's D&I best practices at a recent National Diversity Council - Carolinas "Best Practices" Meeting

Tesha L. Nesbit Arrington, Erie Insurance’s Director of Diversity & Inclusion and Strategic Analytics, presented Erie’s D&I best practices at a recent National Diversity Council – Carolinas “Best Practices” Meeting

In the diversity and inclusion field, there continues to be continued discussion on the importance of Employee Resource Groups, or ERGs. Traditionally, they have been referred to as “affinity groups” as they bring together employees around a common constituency factor such as Black, Hispanic, Women, Young Professionals, LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender), Veterans and more. These groups help make employees feel more at home and included in the workplace, and provide activities such as professional and social networking, mentoring and community involvement.

Over the years, ERGs have continued to evolve. Some companies now refer to ERGs as BRGs – Business Resource Groups. This underscores that the true goal of the ERG is to make the employees and the business overall more effective. There should be a strong connection between the strategy and goals of the ERG (or BRG) and the company. Activities such as leadership development, connecting the company to the community and marketplace, and even input into product or services development helps the organization achieve its business goals.

As a diversity and inclusion consultant, I often attend various workshops to continue to pick up the latest development in my field. In early July, I attend a half day “Diversity and Inclusion Best Practices” seminar organized by the National Diversity Council – Carolinas in Durham, NC. One of the presenters was Tesha L. Nesbit Arrington, Director of Diversity & Inclusion and Strategic Analytics at Erie Insurance Group.

Ms. Nesbit, in presenting several diversity and inclusion best practices from Erie Insurance, highlighted their innovative approach to employee resource groups. Instead of starting with constituency-based resource groups, they started with groups focused around a particular business focus. Their first four ERGs were:
SynERgIzE – focused on building an inclusive workplace
Multiplicity – for diverse employee recruiting outreach
CamaradERIE – building and promoting diversity among the agent community
ExpERIEnce – around providing best customer experience and service for its diverse customer set.

After these networks were up, running and successful with participation from a wide range of constituencies, that provided a strong base for next launching constituency based affinity groups. The first two were women and multi-generational, with African-American and Veterans’s charter proposals in the queue.

Erie Insurance continues to build ongoing robust diversity and inclusion initiatives on this base, including their “Dignity and Respect” Campaign and scoring 100% on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Corporate Equality Index, which measures corporate LGBT inclusion.