Why we still need Pride Month | Inclusive Employers

Why we still need Pride in 2023

Why do we need Pride Month in 2023?

Jason Summers, Events and Members Support Officer, explains why people go to LGBTQ+ pride parades, how they raise awareness about issues effecting the LGBTQ+ community and how Employers can action inclusive LGBTQ+ initiatives all year round.

According to the 2021 census, there are more than 1.3 million people in England and Wales that identify as LGB (lesbian, gay or bisexual) and 262,000 people responded saying that their gender identity was different from their sex registered at birth (those who are placed under the umbrella term; Trans).

It’s 2023 and there is currently an attempt to reform the Equality Act 2010 and remove vital protections the Trans community, headlines such as “Bud Light sparks backlash after partnering with controversial trans poster girl Dylan Mulvaney” are allowed to run, and a 16-year-old girl (Brianna Ghey) was murdered in what has not yet been established as a transphobic hate crime.

This open hostility and transphobia that is being publicly peddled by a minority, is exactly why we still need Pride in 2023. Those in power came for homosexuals in the 80s, and now the scapegoat is the Trans community, and if we don’t stand together now, then we’ll fall one right after the other.

So how can we do our bit to help?  

Raising awareness of issues faced by LGBTQ+ people

The first thing we must do is become aware that inequalities and barriers exist, and that they impact a significant portion of the UK population.

The 2021 census was an important landmark in LGBTQ+ history. It has provided what we in the LGBTQ+ community have always known; we’re here and we deserve to feel safe, respected and have the same access to healthcare, education, employment, housing and social services as any cis, heterosexual human being.

Examples of inequalities faced by the LGBTQ+ community are:

Arguably one of the most visible ways to raise awareness of these inequalities is participation and support of LGBTQ+ pride parades.

Why do people go to LGBTQ+ pride parades?

Does supporting a big street party really help solve healthcare, education, employment, housing and social services inequality?

No, but it certainly helps.

Pride parades were once protests. The Stonewall Uprising began as a reaction to yet another homophobic, violent raid by police on the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Greenwich Village in New York City. It was Trans women and drag queens of colour who are remembered as the most prominent figures of the uprising and gay liberation. It was drag queens – who often identified under the umbrella of the T in LGBT – who were front and center, leading the first Gay Pride rally one year after the Stonewall Uprising.

Pride parades in the UK have a rich, important history, and still serve a purpose even if they are no longer overtly a protest.

Prides parades are:

  • An opportunity to show up in great numbers to celebrate and honour those who came before us, and to acknowledge the suffering of our LGBTQ+ siblings still ongoing around the world.
  • Physically demonstrate our numbers and our allies, and therefore the need for services and better protections.
  • By physically taking up space and being loud, bright and active – even for a day – we become difficult to ignore and this is a way to remind government bodies we’re still here.
  • An opportunity for organisation to show support for LGBTQ+ colleagues and customers.
  • Organisation’s participation also allows for Pride parades to be bigger, louder and platform more LGBTQ+ voices into the public space.
  • Perhaps most importantly, Pride celebrations in all their forms give the LGBTQ+ community a chance to gather and see that we have common ground, and that we can unite and indeed, must.

So, what can we do as I&D professionals to provide for the LGBTQ+ community?

Employers should action inclusive LGBTQ+ initiatives all year

It’s 2023 and we need to move past making tokenistic gestures. LGBTQ+ employees need safe, secure and welcoming workplaces, where their protections are embedded and robust enough that they withstand ongoing outside pressures and negative opinions.

Taking pride back into the workplace is necessary too as 1 in 5 workplaces don’t have any policies to support their LGBT+ staff, and of those companies that do have LGBT+ policies only 1 in 3 updated them in the last 12 months.


Policies should be about underpinning protections and providing support, starting with a dedicated, robust Diversity, Equality and Inclusion policy that provides clear guidelines on how to avoid discrimination and outlines the organisation’s commitment to providing a safe, inclusive workplace for all.

Once you have that, look at your policies to make sure they are LGBTQ+ inclusive. Start with these three questions to begin unpacking if your organisation is where it needs to be:

  1. Protection: Do you need specific LGBTQ+ policies or is it more appropriate for your organisation that all your policies explicitly mention LGBTQ+ people? Each policy needs to consider sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression and include the consequences for any instances of bullying, harassment, and discrimination. 
  2. Support: Does your benefits package (pension, family, leave etc.) and healthcare provider appropriately include LGBTQ+ employees? As mentioned previously, there are a number of inequalities faced by the LGBTQ+ community when it comes to support and healthcare, so a strong, inclusive benefits package can, literally, be a lifesaver.
  3. Inclusion: Is the language gender-neutral? Use ‘they’ instead of he/him or she/her. This language is more considerate, removes gender bias and includes trans and non-binary employees.


Include diverse gender and sexuality options, and not just “other”. Really do research and provide options like Male, Female, Trans Man, Trans Woman, Non-Binary, as well as an option to self-describe. Do the same for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Asexual and that all important self-describe box. This is a simple step that provides an employer with an opportunity not only to create a more inclusive workplace, but also collect data in a meaningful way. Data that can then be used to update facilities and better inform what policies and benefits should be updated to support all your staff members.

Build trust

This isn’t easy but for employees to disclose sensitive information and feel safe enough to bring their whole self to work, employers need to signal to LGBTQ+ employers that they are responsible, trustworthy, and open to feedback. There are a few good ways to begin this journey that don’t involve attending a Pride Parade but are just as public-facing and impactful:

  • Review and communicate your commitment to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Ensure that your system of collecting sensitive data is in line with privacy law and human rights law. Consider getting a third-party professional to audit your system and share this with your employees. By being transparent about this process and sharing with employees that the information they volunteer is handled and stored legally compliant way and will not be used against them builds trust.
  • Communicate to your workforce about the Equality Act 2010 and the protected characteristics. Educating and connecting with your employees about their protections allows an organisation (and importantly its leadership) to demonstrate that it has an awareness for employees and understands its own accountability.
  • Participate in a third-party benchmarking tool, such as the Inclusive Employers Standard to measure inclusion in the workplace and commit to improving year on year. These very public assessments not only show commitment to seeking objective, unbiased feedback, it also builds confidence and trust that the organisation takes their approach to inclusion seriously.

Increase visibility and platform your LGBTQ+ employee voices

There are numerous ways that everyone can get involved in increasing visibility and platforming LGBTQ+ voices:

  • Normalise conversations around gender and gender identity by including pronouns in the most common forms of communication; emails, specifically email signatures. Consider opening meetings with your name and pronouns to signal inclusivity, acceptance and that discrimination is not welcome in your space. 
  • Use the many LGBTQ+ Awareness Days to celebrate LGBTQ+ people and their achievements. If you have a LGBTQ+ Employee Network, this is a great opportunity for their members to be celebrated throughout the organisation and to be given a chance to share their stories and, importantly, be recognised.
  • Partake in what I call “silent signaling” with the use of rainbow lanyards, pronouns on name badges, including LGBTQ+ literature in any reading corners or linking to well-known LGBTQ+ websites on the organisation’s intranet, supporting an LGBTQ+ charity at your next event. The list could go on, but the purpose is always the same; visibility including these signals lets LGBTQ+ individuals know that your organisation is socially aware and that attracts talent which might otherwise have been untapped.


Diversity and inclusion should be woven throughout all training and explicitly include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression awareness. The training should include your policies, appropriate behaviors and then go beyond that. It should be viewed as an opportunity to continuously improve, review changes and celebrating differences throughout the year, not just a “once-and-done” tick box. Investing in appropriate resources is incredibly important as it shouldn’t be up to LGBTQ+ (and other minority) employees to educate others.

And finally…


Listen to your staff. Consult them. They know their roles and have experiences in the workplace that you may not have been aware of. By learning more about the LGBTQ+ lived experience you and your organisation can better provide for them, include them, platform and champion them.

Who knows, you may even save a life like mine.

Thank you for reading…

Inclusive Employers members can download our Pride Month factsheet for more actions on how to participate and support LGBTQ+ inclusion.

If your organisation is not an Inclusive Employers member, see our membership page to find out what inclusion resources you could access and enquire about the benefits of making us your inclusion and diversity partner.