Kristof Hamilton
Kristof Hamilton
Posted 28 June 2022

Pride 2022 – Earning our rainbow stripes

It’s nearly the end of Pride month, and by now you’ll have seen plenty of brands slapping a rainbow logo on their products. I don’t know about you, but whenever I see that, I always think “But what are they actually doing for the community?” Today I wanted to share a bit about our approach to marking Pride at Ometria to give you some ideas on what you might do in your own organisation.

First of all, one of our values at Ometria is ‘It’s awesome to be here’ and we really mean it. We want everyone to feel like they belong, whatever their gender identity or sexual orientation. Driving awareness of these identities and their needs is a huge part of making people feel like they belong. It can be difficult to drive DEI initiatives on top of the day-to-day work though. Even though we have a Slack channel filled with people passionate about DEI and a regular meeting slot, our consistency suffers when work gets busy.

With that in mind, I decided to try a new approach. I asked for volunteers to support Pride month specifically and formed a small squad of people to work on our activities this June. We started at the beginning of May (too late in hindsight) with a kick-off workshop to align the team and plan out our approach.

First, we discussed what Pride meant to us as queer people and defined it as:

  • Celebrating progress
  • Driving awareness of LGBTQ+ issues
  • Demonstrating allyship (both as straight allies and as allies to other parts of our community)
  • Creating a sense of community and belonging

Ometria is an outcome-driven company and so it was important for us to define what success looked like for us. We wanted Ometrians to:

  • Have more awareness of the LGBTQ+ community’s needs
  • Learn something new
  • Take action to engage with/support the community outside of work

We used this info to brainstorm ideas on what we could do to make that happen.

When coming up with ideas, we drew inspiration from things we’d seen other companies do or that we’d led ourselves elsewhere. We prioritised and voted for the ideas to take forward based on areas of the community we felt were more important for people to learn about right now. These were:

  • Being LGBTQ+ in the workplace
  • Gender identity
  • Intersectionality
  • Queer families
  • Being trans (particularly their treatment in the media)

Once we’d decided on what initiatives to take forward, we each chose an area to own that we were passionate about and we felt would have a big impact on our goals. Whilst Pride month isn’t actually over yet, we thought we’d share what we’ve been working on to inspire anyone else doing the work in their organisation. We’re really proud of it.

Introduction to Pride talk

At our first all-hands meeting in June, I gave a short talk on the history and importance of Pride to set the scene for the month itself and give people context to the other activities we’d be undertaking.

The sort of info I covered was:

  • What is Pride?
  • How did it start and what is it like today?
  • What it’s like to be LGBTQ+ globally
  • LGBTQ+ issues in the UK/US
  • What being an ally looks like.

Pride 365 Hub

I created a resource hub on our Notion where anyone in the company can discover LGBTQ+ people, resources, and businesses to engage with and support throughout the year. Team members can add their own, and comment on things they’ve found interesting or enjoyed to create more discussion about them.

Being queer at work panel

Amber Fallon and Ky Ismet organised an amazing panel with some LGBTQ+ Ometrians to talk about our experiences, both in and out of work, and how that’s shaped who we are today. Over half the company attended including most of our supportive SMT team.

We covered the following questions:

  1. Tell us who you are, and how you personally identify?
  2. How does your identity impact you day to day both in and out of work?
  3. Has your identity impacted your career in any way?
  4. Being an ally to a colleague can mean different things to different members of the community How do you think others can be allies?
  5. How have your formative experiences as a member of the LGBTQ+ community shaped you as a person and professional?
  6. If you had one piece of advice for your younger self coming to terms with your identity what would it be?

Yes, we stole the last question from RuPaul’s Drag Race and yes we got cute kid pics of everyone for them to talk to! Here’s Ky our VP of Customer Success:

Advice for younger self

We had so many questions at the end that we’re following up with answers to these throughout the remainder of Pride month!

Flying our flags

Throughout Pride month we’ve asked people to fly the flag of their identity on Slack using a Pride avatar generator. Allies are also flying the standard Pride flag colours to show their support. One Ometrian said doing this was the first time they’d ever expressed their identity publicly. Hearing that made everything we’d done worth it alone.

Alongside this, we added all of the Joypixel’s Pride flags as Slack emojis for people to use whenever appropriate and created guidance on what flags actually mean for people who might be unfamiliar.

Pride flags
Pride flags explained

Sharing our pronouns

Whilst many of us were already sharing our pronouns in different places, we wanted to refresh and remind people why we do this, provide clear instructions for updating our different tools (Slack, Zoom, Gmail signature etc.) and also provide guidance on what to do if you hear people being misgendered using the great illustrations from tai.draws on Instagram. We’ve already seen more and more pronouns pop up across our profiles!

How to get pronouns right

Pride playlist

Most Pride playlists focus on songs people associated with the LGBTQ+ community (I’m looking at you YMCA) but we wanted to focus on queer artists that Ometrians liked themselves. We created a collaborative playlist on Spotify to make it easy to discover new artists and bands to support. It’s public so check it out and enjoy!

A visit to Queer Britain

We’re planning to head to the UK’s first-ever LGBTQ+ museum Queer Britain at the start of July. It’s an incredible way to continue learning about those who paved the way for the lives we lead today.

Queer Britain museum

Image: John Sturrock

Educational posts

Throughout the month we’ve also been posting more information about Pride and the LGBTQ+ community to create more discussion around important topics. We’ve worked from a central calendar so we can keep on top of what’s being posted and when to stagger things out (it helps a lot). We’ve found that asking people to react with a specific emoji works really well for engagement (and got people to use the new Pride ones we added).

The response from the team has been phenomenal, and it’s clear that we’ve really driven awareness and some real change within the company. The number of messages of support and engagement we’ve seen has been incredible. The hope now is that we use this setup as a guide for how to run DEI initiatives at Ometria and that we can continue to explore and learn about other identities and the overlap they share together.

If you have any thoughts or questions or would like a copy of any of the resources we’ve put together please reach out through LinkedIn and I’ll be happy to help.

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