Did you have fun last week during #YYCPride? Maybe have some flags up at your business, or a pride drink special? Did you make a post supporting the LGBTQA2S+ community? That’s awesome. But: make sure you’re taking real action with you business, not just riding the rainbow wave.
Some tips to taking action as a small business:
Listen: Make sure you are actually *listening* to the needs of your LGBTQ+ customers and staff. Do you make time and space for them to voice their concerns?
Hire: Are you hiring LGBTQ+ people into your organization? If you don’t have any LGBTQ+ staff, or maybe you are thinking “well, none ever apply!” - maybe that means you need to make some changes to your hiring practices or workplace environment…
Train: Give your employees the tools and resources they need to support the LGBTQ+ community. There are tons of great organizations in Calgary that can do workplace inclusion training that’s fun and totally worth it for your business! @Pinkflamingoyyc, @drkepaterson, @queerartsyyc (OutReels), and @yycsexualhealth are just a few. Know of anymore? Tag them in the comments!
Create: Create a safe and inclusive space at you business. Make your business feel welcoming to people across the gender spectrum! Pride flags and painted walls or floors are a great start to signal that you’re a safe space, but also consider if you ask for (and use!) pronouns on intake forms, or if you have gender neutral washrooms for staff and customers.
Language: Once you notice how our everyday language can be very binary, you’ll soon get the hang of gender neutral and inclusive language. Not just in your social media captions, but also in your internal documents and communications with staff.
Stand up: Don’t stay quiet on this issue, ever. This isn’t “political”, this is about human rights. When you see something wrong, use your business’s voice to call it out. If a customer isn’t treating your LGBTQ+ staff with respect, tell them they aren’t welcome. Take action when necessary to protect LGBTQ+ employees and customers!
Donate: Financial help is always needed at organizations doing important work for our LGBTQ+ community. Don’t just donate during pride week, but throughout the year!