Meeting in a Box: LGBT Pride Month

May 28, 2015 3:36 pm
Meeting in a Box LGBT Pride Month

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This Meeting in a Box tool is designed for distribution to all employees. You may use portions of it or all of it. Each section is available as a separate PDF; you can forward the entire document or link to it on DiversityInc Best Practices; or you can print it out for employees who do not have Internet access.

For June, which is LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Pride Month, we are giving you a valuable tool to share with all your employees as you continue their education in cultural competence. We are supplying a Timeline of barriers that have been broken, major legislation and legal decisions, protests and landmark events impacting LGBT people and their allies, plus Facts & Figures on demographics of open LGBT people, income/buying power/customer loyalty, and major LGBT people in business, sports, entertainment and politics. Our cultural-competence series, “Things NOT to Say,” focuses on LGBT people this month. This information should be distributed to your entire workforce and also should be used by your LGBT/allies resource group internally and externally as a year-round educational tool.

[CLICK HERE to download a PDF of the full Meeting in a Box, our diversity-management training and educational tool available only to Benchmarking customers and DiversityInc Best Practices subscribers.]


The landscape for LGBT rights and being open has changed very dramatically in the past two years. It’s more vital than ever for your workforce to be culturally competent and to understand what LGBT equality means. We recommend you start your employees’ cultural-competence lesson by using this Timeline, which documents LGBT organizations, “firsts,”discrimination, and significant political and legal changes in the United States. It’s important to discuss how rapidly rights for gays and lesbians are evolving and what that means for corporations, schools, religious institutions and government. It’s also valuable to discuss transgender and gender-identity rights, and how they intersect and differ with lesbian and gay rights.

Discussion Questions for Employees

How can we build an atmosphere of inclusion, regardless of our personal or religious views?
Have you ever heard people at work making homophobic comments? What did you do? Do you know what your corporate policies are on hate speech at work? Do you discuss what it’s like for companies located in states like Indiana and what your company would do in those circumstances?

Why are “firsts” important to note? What other barrier breakers have you witnessed in your lifetime?
This is a personal discussion designed to help the employee note other barrier breakers historically. (Cite Jason Collins, Barney Frank, Ellen DeGeneres.) How does someone prominently in the news, like Bruce Jenner, impact others? This discussion can be further explored after the Facts & Figures section below is discussed.



After discussion of the Timeline, the next step is to review available data and understand why the ability for more LGBT people to be open and treated equally under the law has profound societal and business implications. It’s also critical to note that almost everyone has an LGBT relative or friend, and that straight allies also frequently make purchasing and business decisions based on whether they perceive an organization to be inclusive.

This page includes a list of companies DiversityInc ranks as the Top 10 for LGBT Employees. We factor in the public role companies play, such as Eli Lilly and Company in Indiana, in fighting discrimination. We also assess companies for LGBT-supportive benefits, having an active employee-resource group of LGBT employees and allies, using LGBT suppliers, cultural-competence training, and messaging on website and external communications. All of these companies have a 100 percent score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, which measures corporate benefits.


Discussion Questions for Employees

Since many national figures have come out is it easier for employees in your organization to come out? Is there a difference for gay and lesbian people compared with transgender people?
How would you feel if you couldn’t show a photo of your significant other at work or discuss what you did over the weekend?

Why are LGBT people and their allies so loyal to specific customer brands?
How should consumer-facing companies let them know that the company is gay-friendly? How should B-to-B companies communicate to clients about their inclusive culture?

How can you use your resource groups to reach out to the LGBT-and-allies community, internally and externally?
Does your company have an LGBT resource group and, if so, are you a member? Does your group have the words “allies, friends or straight” in its title and does it clearly communicate that it’s a group for everyone? Is your group sponsoring community events as well as internal events?



Our popular “Things NOT to Say” series includes these interviews with LGBT leaders about offensive phrases they’ve heard in the workplace and how best to respond to them to further cultural-competence education. We also recently published “5 Things NOT to Say to Transgender People.”

Discussion Questions for Employees

What phrases have you often heard uttered “innocently” in the workplace that are offensive to LGBT people—comments like “That’s so gay” or “I don’t care about a person’s sexual preference.” When dealing with a transitioning employee, do you know what pronouns are preferred or what questions are considered rude?
This educator’s guide, part of the ThinkB4YouSpeak campaign launched by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian &Straight Education Network), can help you determine how to handle workplace comments.

What active role should the company play when offensive comments occur?
Have the employees talk about under what circumstances they would report offensive comments and what they believe the company should do.

After today’s lesson, what would you do if you overheard a colleague make one of these comments?
Continue the discussion with each employee having a plan of action on how to address offensive language.