Did you know that June is celebrated globally by many as Pride month? You may have noticed at your local supermarket, an increase in rainbow coloured clothing, decorations and flags lining the shelves. Or perhaps driving downtown, large corporations and small business alike both brandishing window posters and signs in support of the LGBTQ communities. While the glitter and rainbows may catch your eye, this month represents a call to action and a call to reflect. There is a continued need for greater unity, visibility and support for the LGBTQ community and your association can help!
Little things go a long way
Many associations are making small gestures that can leave a lasting impact. For example, we see many association staff adding their pronouns to their email signatures. There is also an increased awareness in using gender neutral language with respect to documentation. In your association’s Board documents, do you use the term Chairmen or Chairperson? These small changes can lead to the creation of a safe environment for all staff and membership where assumptions aren’t being made about someone’s sexual orientation. This can be really impactful and freeing for a given team member. We all deserve to feel safe at work regardless of how we choose to identify.
You’re not leading it; you’re silent
Not only do words matter, but so does the lack of words. Lera Boroditsky, a cognitive scientist at the University of California talks about the perceptions of the world when we don’t use certain words:
‘’There are two outcomes that happen when we don’t name or talk about something. Things that are named are the ones most likely to be thought about and to be visible in our consciousness. Though in principle we can think about lots of things, our actual attentional span is very limited. As a result, the kinds of things we tend to think about are the ones that are named.’’
That question on your brain about EDI with respect to a new policy change, raise it at your next Board meeting. You can not lead by remaining silent. Leaving out words or not asking questions can leave certain communities out of the conversation. This dampens the conversation in areas that more often than not have huge impact.
If nothing else, associations and association leaders can be inspired by the courage and bravery shown by the pioneers, modern day trailer blazers of those involved with and supporting the Pride month. Members of the LGBTQ communities and their allies stand up for their beliefs and this builds resiliency in order to move towards their goals. As association leaders, it is very important to hone the skill of having the confidence to communicate your thoughts and decisions with your Board in order to make changes that will have an impact.
What is your association doing to support Pride month? Are you sporting a rainbow logo for the month of June? Is your communications committee posting on social media, do you have a poster in your window? Maybe your Board is attending a virtual learning event or walking as a sponsor in a local Pride parade. Maybe your association isn’t doing anything and, in that case, get curious. Take courage and lead with PRIDE.
To learn more on what it takes to lead within an association, check out my colleagues’ article HERE