What does it mean to be an Ally of the LGBTIQ+ Community?
EDUCATION. RESPECT. INCLUSION.
These were the recurring themes I encountered when speaking to my LGBTQIA+ colleagues at Kriya. June is Pride month, and our dedicated DEI Committee have been finding effective ways to show our support for the LGBTQIA+ Community. I’ve written this blog not just to reflect on allyship, but to understand what Pride means to the LGBTQIA+ community and our business.
As part of our celebrations for Pride month, we had an insightful Lunch‘n’Learn with Ainslie Caldwell (She/Her, They/Them). We wanted to raise awareness and educate the business about Pride: its origins, history, impact and role today.
It was a hugely successful session, and it was incredible to hear about the history of Pride. We covered everything from the Stonewall Riots of 1969, to the amazing Marsha P. Johnson a trans-woman of colour and historic Pride trailblazer.
Education is the first step to unlearning discrimination and becoming more inclusive.
To further our education at Kriya, we’ve provided copies of The Little Book of LGBTIQ+ and recommended other learning materials: like Heather has 2 Mummies and podcasts (like Being LGBTIQ and QueerAF). It’s all part of our #AlwaysBeLearning philosophy at Kriya.
For further TV and film recommendations from Ainslie, check out:
- Feel Good
- Its A Sin
- The Life & Death of Martha P Johnson
One of the most important aspects of allyship is to actively listen to the voices of individuals who identify as Gay, Lesbian, Trans, Bisexual and Queer, or people who don’t identify as any particular gender. We’re still living in a society that persecutes and discriminates against LGBTQIA+ people. By respecting their identity we create a safer environment in which to express themselves. This is one of the first steps to becoming an ally.
At our Lunch‘n’Learn, IT Analyst Arty Barnes (They/Them) explained the importance of respecting people’s pronouns and why correct representation matters – and shouldn’t be a big deal. Arty put it perfectly: “The brave part in being who we are isn't in simply existing as LGBTQIA+ people, but being ourselves despite the adversity we may face.”
Simply asking “May I ask you a personal question?” goes a long way in making someone feel comfortable. If you accidentally use the wrong pronouns, don’t be embarrassed to clarify. Arty’s advice is to thank someone for the correction then move on without making a fuss. Making an effort is what counts, and it’s ok to make mistakes.
Once respect and education (as discussed above) are in action, we’ve begun creating an inclusive space for people to feel safe being themselves. Recently, we started including personal pronouns on email signatures and Slack. Pronouns aren’t exclusive to the LGBTQIA+ community, they’re for everyone! If we all take part, we can normalise the use of pronouns and help anyone who doesn’t identify as ‘he/she’ feel comfortable.
“It helps them feel like they have a way to inform people of their identity without having to tell people their pronouns in every conversation they have” - Arty Barnes (They/Them)
Pronouns are not just for Pride month. Though Pride puts a celebratory spotlight on the community, inclusivity efforts should be consistent no matter what month it is.
A diverse workforce breeds success. Being an inclusive employer has a positive impact on diversifying points of view and attracting diverse talent. At Kriya, this is just the beginning! We understand that in order to support a diverse range of businesses, we need to look inwards and make sure this is reflected and that our people feel comfortable, included & respected.
What does Pride mean to you?
“Be open without fearing judgement” - Mikayla Massarin (She/Her)
“Being ourselves despite the adversity we may face” - Arty Barnes (They/Them)
“All people deserve to know that they are loved and valued, that they matter and that they are not alone. Allyship to me is just about understanding and taking care of each other as fellow human beings” - Andrew Finnerty, VP of People
“Acknowledging and celebrating each other's differences” - Sheryl Tam (She/Her)
“Being an ally to LGBTIQ+ affirms our commitment to kindness and inclusion for everyone” - Aniela Stana (She/Her)
Throughout June, we’re fundraising for Stonewall Riots to help continue their brilliant work creating a more inclusive world where every LGBTIQ+ person is free to be themselves.