How to Celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month at Work: 6 Ways

Young female engineer wearing helmet and holding up a PRIDE flag

During LGBTQ+ Pride Month, we've got you covered with ways to celebrate now and in the future. Check out these inspiring ideas and consider adding them to your agenda.

Every year in June, businesses celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month, highlighting the contributions of their LGBTQ+ employees, raising awareness of issues in the community, offering diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) resources and more. Celebrating the occasion can help you recognize current and future members of your LGBTQ+ workforce and support continuing education and allyship in your workplace and community.

To inspire your Pride Month celebration for 2023, here are six ways to celebrate the occasion, inspired by the activities of ADP's Pride business resource group (BRG).

Lacey Ross-Prouty, director, internal communications, co-chair of the Pride BRG, ADP, shared these activities to inspire organizations' celebrations. She recommended establishing a theme as a first step.

"Establishing a theme is important," she said. "You can weave it through your events and make it unique to your organization and LGBTQ+ workforce. Use this recommendation and our BRG's activities to inspire your agenda. We hope these event ideas are helpful, and remember, as you plan, work with experts and your LGBTQ+ workforce every step of the way."

1. Host a Pride Month parade

Celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month by participating in a local Pride Month parade or hosting your own. Discuss a vision, theme, plan of action, safety, etiquette, transportation, floats, duration, equipment and follow-up activities, such as lunch and games. Secure permission from community leaders and create promotional materials, float decorations and a soundtrack. If a city parade isn't feasible, consider an in-office, parking-lot or virtual parade, whereby employees log into a virtual environment and give short-form Pride Month presentations. If you have multiple locations, multiple Pride parades can be produced. Can you partner with nearby businesses to host a neighborhood or office-park parade? Get creative, and add a virtual viewing component for remote and hybrid employees. Share parade dates and times, and enjoy celebrating the LGBTQ+ community.

"The most impactful and valuable piece of this event is that you can connect your employees around a common theme, purpose and celebration," Ross-Prouty says. "Every company could do this if they wanted to cohesively unite their people for Pride Month. For organizations with remote and hybrid employees, virtual viewing allows everyone to get the same experience of kicking off such an important month together."

2. Ask LGBTQ+ people about how to be supportive

What does it mean to be an effective LGBTQ+ ally? Ask an LGBTQ+ panel to find out. Identify community members in your workplace and gather questions anonymously so people can inquire without judgment. Have a moderator facilitate the exchange. If you need an example question, use this: "How do I address someone or discuss their weekend with them if I don't know their partner's sex or gender identity?" Other conversation starters include "How do you ask someone for their pronouns or preferred or chosen name?"

"As an LGBTQ+ BRG, it was meaningful for us to cultivate this space for people looking to grow their allyship," Ross-Prouty says. "It means a lot when you can get answers from your LGBTQ+ colleagues directly because then you feel more personally motivated to be an inclusive ally for the community."

In a similar panel-style event, you could ask LGBTQ+ leaders to discuss their careers and professional experiences. An example question for this topic might be, "How has your gender identity or sexual orientation affected your career, if at all?"

"For our version of this event, we gathered a diverse sampling of LGBTQ+ leaders from different geographies and experiences who could speak to intersectionality, how they've overcome adversities that LGBTQ+ people continue to face and how they've used these adversities to fuel their career growth and navigate the workplace," Ross-Prouty says. "The most significant benefit of this type of event is representation. Your LGBTQ+ employees can interact with out-and-proud leaders and learn to be open and proud of their identities in the process."

3. Host a plus panel

Gather panelists who identify with the plus in the LGBTQ+ acronym and ask them, "What's your plus?" This format can help employees learn more about people who don't identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ). Some community members identify as asexual, non-binary or pansexual, for example. ADP's Pride BRG used organic conversations and the organization's workplace and community networks to locate people who share these identities. Could you do something similar? Ask a moderator to facilitate the discussion and gather questions anonymously. Assuming you've secured the appropriate permissions, consider recording the conversation for future viewing or for incorporation into your DE&I training. Remember that some community members aren't comfortable discussing this topic, so this event might not suit you. Be judicious and always consult expert sources if you have doubts.

"We used this event to explore beyond lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer identities. We wanted to converse with people who held the identities and sexual orientations comprising the plus in the acronym," Ross-Prouty says. "Not only should straight allies understand the plus, but LGBTQ people should understand it to enhance their allyship as well. We asked our 'plus' panelists to explain how they identify, the unique challenges they face because of their identities and any tips they have for allies. There was also time for questions. Overall, this event highlights that there's no set standard for how the community is defined. People in the community aren't just LGBTQ. There's a whole spectrum of ways people identify. This panel challenges you to open your mind to different realities of identity and sexual orientation."

"The most significant benefit of this type of event is representation. Your LGBTQ+ employees can interact with out-and-proud leaders and learn to be open and proud of their identities in the process."

Lacey Ross-Prouty, co-chair of the Pride BRG, ADP

4. Host an allyship panel

Gather a panel of allies to discuss practical ways to support the LGBTQ+ community. The panelists could discuss examples of allyship in action, effective ways to express allyship and the importance of allyship generally. Ask the panelists to share real-life examples of their allyship and what impact they believe it has had. This is also an excellent opportunity to ask members of your LGBTQ+ workforce how they think allyship could be improved, whether at your business or in general.

"We looked for senior leaders who had a lot of influence across the organization because we knew that folks would love what they had to say," Ross-Prouty says. "They discussed what began their allyship journeys: Was it a specific event, a person, a news story or something else? They discussed how they express their allyship, whether by wearing Pride gear throughout the year, speaking up to support the community or some other way. Through this event, we, as an LGBTQ+ community, get insight into how we're being represented when we're not around. It's also an important exchange for allies seeking to deepen their allyship. Employees should see their leaders take allyship seriously and be able to learn practical ways to express theirs."

5. Offer inclusive-language learning opportunities

Discuss inclusive language during a live or prerecorded training session. Ask inclusive-language experts to discuss words and phrases often used in connection with the LGBTQ+ community. Examples include pronouns and preferred or chosen names, which are significant to many transgender and non-binary people. Leave time for a Q&A, and know that some may phrase questions a certain way because they don't have supportive language and want to increase their understanding of how to use it.

"In our version of this event, we sought to provide helpful information about transgender and non-binary people so our BRG members and ADP allies could use it in future interactions and be more inclusive," Ross-Prouty says. "We discussed pronouns, preferred or chosen names and more. We were able to be more pointed in this discussion about transgender and non-binary experiences. Learning about the different aspects of addresses and references is critical within the contexts of these communities. Overall, we provided tailored education around inclusive language and gave our employees linguistic tools for interacting inclusively with transgender and non-binary people at work and elsewhere."

6. Examine your business

Use Pride Month to examine your business for inclusive and equitable policies, practices, products, services and communications. Consider these eight questions during your analysis:

  • Are you following laws that protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination?
  • Do you have policies that prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ+ people?
  • Are your LGBTQ+ employees paid fairly?
  • Are you using inclusive language in your internal and external communications?
  • Does intersectionality factor into your LGBTQ+ commitments?
  • Does your HR or other employee-facing software let employees self-identify (self-ID) their gender and as LGBTQ+, select non-binary pronouns and salutations and list preferred or chosen names?
  • Can you view the binary and non-binary distribution of your workforce and compare it with industry benchmarks?
  • Can you use this collection of people data to comply with reporting laws and make DE&I, hiring, retention and benefits decisions that support your LGBTQ+ workforce?

If analyzing your business this way feels new, overwhelming or uncomfortable, Pride Month is a great time to discuss these feelings and consult expert sources for guidance.

"Achieving true-to-life equity and inclusion for LGBTQ+ people requires an intersectional understanding of sexual orientation, gender, race, ethnicity, disability, veteran status and other categorizations," says Giselle Mota, chief of product inclusion, ADP. "During LGBTQ+ Pride Month and beyond, while it is necessary to acknowledge, respect and celebrate LGBTQ+ people, we must also ensure our policies, practices, products, services and communications welcome and accommodate their intersectional realities. This interconnected approach can help us become more intentional and purposeful about the work experiences we create."

Committing to LGBTQ+ inclusion year after year

Celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride Month should be a year-round affair involving HCM software that's data-driven and LGBTQ+ inclusive. Managers, supervisors and practitioners can use this technology to be more inclusive of their LGBTQ+ employees and strategically improve DE&I, hiring, retention, perks and benefits for their LGBTQ+ workforces.

Learn how new features in ADP solutions can help you create a more inclusive workplace. Visit our DE&I page now to download the guide.

ADP's Pride BRG contributed to this article. The Pride BRG welcomes ADP's LGBTQ+ associates and their allies.