The Importance of Pride to the Business Community  

Amanda Strawn, Development Manager at FAHASS (Fredericksburg Area Health and Support Services); 501c3 non-profit operating Mosaic Care Center and Pride Center FXBG

The time has come again when people around the world join forces during the month of June to celebrate Pride Month. Most importantly, Pride Month is a time to embrace and honor the diversity of our fellow human beings. Pride gives everyone an opportunity to share their true and honest selves with the world, and be accepted for exactly who they are. But Pride month isn’t just about fun street festivals, adding rainbow flags to our logos, or putting out a colorful flag for a month. The true importance of this annual event is about uplifting and amplifying LGBTQ voices and issues. It’s a time to celebrate how far we’ve come in creating a society more focused on equality and acceptance, as well as a time to shine a light on how much work still needs to be done.

Pride Month highlights the potential of a brighter tomorrow, where people can be themselves in the world without living in fear of hatred, violence, or death. Every year, new goals are accomplished in the LGBTQ community, and Pride is a great way to celebrate these achievements. But we can’t ignore the existence of the continued attacks and discrimination towards this community. There are still nearly 70 countries worldwide with laws making it illegal to even be homosexual. Even in our own backyard, our neighbors continue to face barriers and prejudice in healthcare, the workplace, and beyond. Pride is more than a rainbow wave on your social media, it can truly save lives with its impact. As a business, it’s important to recognize how LGBTQ inclusion can impact your employees as well as your business success as a whole.

  1. Diverse Companies See Higher Revenues

Diversity can be a driver of innovation and top performance based on studies undertaken across 1700 companies in 8 countries. It turns out that there truly was a statistical significance between diversity and innovation across all the countries studied! The more dimensions of diversity that were represented, the stronger the relationship appeared to be to innovation and profitable results. Which makes sense!

  1. Inclusive Companies See Greater Work Engagement

7.1% of the adult population in the United States openly self-identifies as belonging to the LGBTQ community. That’s roughly 20 million adult individuals and that does not include the thousands that choose not to live openly or self-identify. In addition, survey research finds that respondents of all backgrounds encounter barriers to feeling included in the workplace —and that women, respondents who are ethnic and racial minorities, and those who identify as LGBTQ+ encounter even more challenges. A sense of inclusion is strongly linked with employee engagement which is linked to higher profits. Individuals that feel as though they are accepted as their authentic selves in the workplace report higher levels of excitement and commitment to their organizations. Working to advance inclusion and diversity within your companies only serves to benefit both the employees and the output of the company itself.

  1. Workers Prefer Diverse and Inclusive Companies

If you were to do a very basic Google search, you’d quickly find a multitude of studies and surveys that demonstrate the importance of diversity and inclusion as a tool for recruitment and retention of talent. In one survey, 80% of respondents state that they want to work for a company that values DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) efforts. In another survey, 50% of individuals state that they are looking for companies to invest more in promoting workplace diversity with another 40% of respondents stating that they feel their companies could be doing more to inclusively hire members of the LGBTQ community. Visibility and inclusivity is important for individuals to feel comfortable in their work environment and that degree of comfort can highly impact an individual’s feeling of connection to their workplace.

Thankfully, our LGBTQ community members are not forced to live their lives in hiding to quite the same degree as years past, but there are still many levels of improvement that can be made to build a better and more inclusive environment for all. As a business owner, there are a number of ways you can show your dedication to building a better world.

  1. Support local organizations that are invested in creating an inclusive community! Here in the Fredericksburg region, FAHASS is dedicated to positively impacting individual and community health through inclusive and affirming health and social programs. FAHASS operates the Pride Center FXBG, the region’s first LGBTQ Community Center, and Mosaic Care Center, our region’s only true LGBTQ healthcare facility. Your choice to use Mosaic Care Center for your primary care needs or sponsor events through the Pride Center puts money directly back into the community through FAHASS programs. Partnering with local nonprofit organizations is a great way to demonstrate to your employees, potential recruits, and prospective customers your commitment to the local community at large.
  2. Schedule an LGBTQ Community Awareness Training! Currently being offered for free through the end of 2023, Pride Center FXBG, a division of FAHASS, provides a customizable community awareness training focused on educating businesses regarding the history, needs, and cultural aspects of the LGBTQ community. Whether you’re looking for 2 hours or a full day training, FAHASS will build a training catered to your organizations specific needs and goals, working to educate your management, staff, Board, or even volunteers to be more proactive and inclusive.
  3. Volunteer & Engage with LGBTQ organizations! Many nonprofit and community based organizations rely on the strength of their volunteer base to accomplish different aspects of their work. Volunteer engagement, particularly from allies and businesses, is a strong statement of support through the use of time to further the missions of local organizations. Whether you find ways to inform your staff about different organizations & volunteer opportunities in the community or even go so far as to give them Volunteer Hours as part of their benefits package, volunteering is highly valued and a great way to provide support to a local organization.

For more information on how you can get involved with FAHASS/Pride Center FXBG or schedule a Community Awareness training, email [email protected] or call 540-907-4555 to reach Development.