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Beyond the Rainbow. How businesses can show LGBTQ pride in Syracuse.

So many good intentioned companies and organizations use June Pride month to show their affirmation of support for the LGBTQ community. We love it and need it but given the unprecedented hateful rhetoric and violence nationally, our local LGBTQ community is feeling vunlenrable to attack and hurt. We have even seen LGBTQ businesses owners decide not to come out, or even be associated with pride efforts, out of fear of being boycotted or even in so far of their brick and mortar space being vandalized.

We are seeking a more progressive, active and creative approach in 2024 for those supporters who really want to make a difference both locally and around the country. We have come up with a top-ten list that you can use to activate the values of your company or organization with those who believe in universal human rights.

10 - Train and develop your staff to be inclusive of the LGBTQ patrons and visitors to Syracuse or surrounding area. At the very least, a customer service approach that is equitable to all your clients and customers. Instead of, "Sir/Mame, Can I help you?" how about, "Good morning, Can I help you?" Your company vibe should be the values you keep.

9 - Subscribe to LGBTQ newsletters and free resources of groups like Out & Equal and share salient insights with the team or hold professional development conversations on timely articles or trends.

8 - Share a rainbow sticker or LGBTQ iconography on your company or organization window and or share them on the various office doors or cube farms, to create a vibe that you welcome your employees and guests. Don't just change your logo to a rainbow over Pride month, make it a year long effort internally in small and subtle ways.

7 - When creating the marketing, videos and social media for your business, how much of it includes heteronormative images and language? Is your copy gender inclusive? If you are a bakery, is it clear that you make cakes for inclusive ceremonies and celebrations. Visibility requires businesses and professionals to stand out with intention.

6 - Create a PRIDE Employee Resource Group (ERG) at your company or fund a team member to join our citywide ERG program to facilitate a space for like minded employees to celebrate their culture and uniqueness. ERG's serve as a retention and recruitment strategy.

5 - Hold safe zone trainings for interested staff, board members and stakeholders to showcase your commitment to equity. We don't believe in mandatory trainings, as those want to learn should not be in the space with those that don't. It defeats the point of creating a safe space to learn.

4 - Hire a drag entertainer for your company or organizational events and fundraisers. Give a thoughtful eye as to how you spend your dollars with LGBTQ owned businesses and vendors for your every day needs.

3 - Allow more variety in human expression in the attire and style in a professional office. Too many LGBTQ feel regulated to the arts, nonprofit, technology and education fields, because they are more likely have the ability to be more expressive in those environments.

2- When national or local tragedies occur that effect LGBTQ employees, board members and stakeholders, check-in with empathy. Consider creating an internal public relations plan that allows for quick work flow to address issues that impact your team members.

1 - Hire LGBTQ people for your business and boards of directors. A corporate or nonprofit culture is only as good as the humans at the company or organization, not just about the great policies you have for employees. Think of your culture as a microcosm of where people get along and are showing the world that is possible to share space and be a leader with people that are different than you.

Your business makes more money and gets more clients, when you create social proof and evidence of inclusion. Let us know which ideas you already have in place or if you have more activities for our list.


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