Need for meaningful actions

It’s about how you hire and retain talent, how you design jobs, what benefits you offer, what kind of culture you build, how you develop and market your products and services, who you buy services from, and how you support the community, among other things.

Mistaking systemic DEI work with events and celebrations is especially visible during Pride month. Changing the company logo to a rainbow one and organizing celebrations in June, if not paired with meaningful actions that benefit LGBTQ+ employees and communities, misses the mark. Especially in the current political climate where there is so much anti-LGBTQ+ hate and little protection.


In the context of a workplace, Lily Zheng did a fantastic job describing how to do Pride Month right and how “Your Rainbow Logo Doesn’t Make You an Ally“. Max Siegel explained quite succinctly what your LGBTQ+ team members might really want during and beyond Pride – feel safe telling a collegue about their partner, HR policies which explicitly include and protect them, hear “we recognise that your community are under threat and we commit to supporting you”.

The lack of safety is a reality for a lot of people and we need to understand it to be able to stand in solidarity with them. For example, Poland, where I currently reside, has recently been ranked by ILGA-Europe in their annual review of the human rights and situation of LGBTI people, as the worst of all European Union member states. The current Polish government is notorious for its homophobic and transphobic stance and some municipalities in the country went as far as to declare themselves as “LGBTQ-free zones”.

Changing systems

Celebration, visible support and education matter. Organizing and/or participating in Pride Month events and celebrations are important. My point is that by far this is not enough for creating a workplace that is inclusive for LGBTQ+ employees. Today’s most critical workplace challenges are about systems and effective DEI work focuses on changing systems that were not designed by everyone and with everyone in mind.

Anna Kostecka (she/her)

Managing Director at What Works. She is a globally-minded Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) strategist with 12+ years of experience supporting organizations around the world on their DEI journey.