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Q&A: How to promote authentic allyship this Pride Month

Expert insights on how to celebrate Pride Month at work in an era of increased DEIB scrutiny.
Expert insights on how to celebrate Pride Month at work in an era of increased DEIB scrutiny.

Pride Month is in June, and in a year of increased DEIB scrutiny, many social impact professionals may contend with the challenge of planning experiences that meaningfully support the LGBTQ+ community. 

As the cultural landscape shifts, some companies are facing pushback over their diversity and inclusion programs. To help you overcome some of these challenges during Pride, we reached out to the experts at Equality Utah, a nonprofit that advocates for legislative protections in one of the most conservative states in the United States.

Here, Olivia Jaramillo, director of public outreach at Equality Utah, shares ways companies can host Pride events that support LGBTQ+ employees and communities and create deep belonging for all. 

What is the mission and founding story of Equality Utah? 

Equality Utah has been around since 2001, and our mission has mainly been legislative. We have advocated for LGBTQ+ protections in the state of Utah. From our founding to now in 2024, our work has brought Utah — one of the most conservative states in the country — to have the most protections for the LGBTQ+ community. Not a lot of people know this! So we like to spread awareness of what our mission has accomplished over the past 23 years. 

Now, we’re focused on taking our formula that has worked so well in gaining LGBTQ+ protections and delivering it into the workplace. 

We recently built a program called Business Equality Leader to help over 30 companies ranging from small businesses to larger corporations such as Morgan Stanley, NBA teams, Adobe, and more to help them create belonging in the workplace. 

We believe that belonging is a pillar to create understanding and allyship in the workplace. 

This year is an election year in the U.S. — a time when the political landscape can be a charged environment. In what ways does Pride Month in 2024 differ from previous years, if any? 

One of the most important things about celebrating Pride every year is realizing that now is the best time to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community. That is no different this year. 

With everything that may be happening in the political landscape, we believe that all across the nation and the world there is so much more awareness about who the LGBTQ+ community is. So it’s important to keep that in perspective every year. 

There’s been a lot of news about corporations receiving pushback around their DEIB initiatives. What’s your take on this trend?

We have seen there has been a little bit of a backlash against DEIB in the workplace — especially here in Utah where we are a majority conservative state. 

But we also know that Equality Utah’s formula works. 

When we create understanding, we’re advocating for people to become allies. When we create understanding, we demystify the LGBTQ+ community — and people tend to fear the unknown. Instead of leaning into the fear, our programming and nonprofit mission leans into demystifying the community.

How can social impact professionals celebrate Pride Month at work in a way that prioritizes authentic allyship when their DEIB programs are under scrutiny?

Many people do fear repercussions in the workplace if they try to advocate for greater equality. 

We lean so much on creating understanding and being visible. Whenever a transgender person like myself shows up and is visible, it starts normalizing who we are. Interacting with transgender people helps many realize that there is nothing to fear. 

Even as an ally, you can be a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Being an ally doesn’t require purchasing a Pride T-shirt or waving a rainbow flag. Being an ally can be as simple as listening to someone’s story. That kind of experience goes a long way and it’s very impactful. 

We’re seeing that many companies are open to this type of programming and can deeply benefit from it.

How could a social impact professional enable their company to elevate the visibility of LGBTQ+ community members? 

One of the simplest things companies can do is to tap into calendars. We recognize other holidays such as Independence Day, Christmas, and more. Now, it’s become a norm for companies and organizations to celebrate Pride Month at work every June. 

Try incorporating other dates such as Transgender Day of Visibility (March 31) or Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20) into your programming. That goes a long way in creating a normality around what these dates mean and around the transgender community specifically. 

It’s important for companies to recognize that LGBTQ+ holidays are another way that you can celebrate employees. Sometimes there’s a small minority of LGBTQ+ people who work at companies. But even just talking about equality can create awareness and empower people to be allies for LGBTQ+ communities regardless of their size.

Can you share a bit more about Equality Utah’s Business Equality Leader program?

Business Equality Leader is Equality Utah’s marquee education program. It takes our mission, vision, and ethos of finding common ground and building on shared values. We really look to bring this program into the workplace by showing up to simply create understanding around issues such as LGBTQ+ equality. 

The Business Equality Leader program also dives into other issues such as race and ethnicity — which is often not easy to talk about in the workplace. 

We focus on the importance of building allyship and communication. How can we communicate with others who we feel we don’t click with or have a hard time understanding? We provide actional tools for people to implement in the workplace. Ultimately, our goal is to create belonging for everybody. 

Schedule a call with if you’d like to learn more about planning meaningful Pride Month celebrations in the workplace. 


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