Over The Rainbow

Jun 24, 2024 | Blog, Wellbeing

By Robbi James

Why Pride Month Matters, and what you can do this time of year to show your colours.

It will surprise no one that Creative Plus Business is a loudly proud workplace (and community). Almost everyone who you come into contact with here has connections with, or is a proud member of, the LGBTQIA+ world. And that’s a many varied thing. I myself am a proudly Queer-identifying man, which in itself is sometimes controversial in the broader community, but I’m lucky to be surrounded by a cohort of amazing creative thinkers and leaders that identify in so many other ways. It’s a genuine rainbow of queerness, and that deserves celebrating every day. 

But hey, it’s Pride Month, and that gives us a time to pause and consider why we still need to not just celebrate but also reflect, engage, and do something that can have lasting impact for our LGTBQIA+ family and friends all year. 

But first, a quick history lesson. We observe Pride Month in June because on June 29, 1969, in New York City, police raided the Stonewall Inn without warning, arresting 13 people for bootlegging alcohol and for violating the state’s gender appropriate clothing laws. The raid sparked an uprising from the local LGTBQIA+ community and neighbourhood residents that lasted for six days. It was the first time that the community became truly visible on an international scale, as was the brutality and discrimination they were experiencing. It was the catalyst for the last sixty-plus years of protest, progress, and yes, eventually parties – a journey that continues everywhere today. And I do mean everywhere

While progress has been made, LGBTQIA+ people in Australia still experience disproportionate rates of bullying, harassment, and discrimination. According to IDAHOBIT:

  • 68% of LGBTQIA+ employees in Australia are not out to everyone at work
  • 2 in 3 LGBTQIA+ youth experience abuse due to their identity
  • 35% of LGBTQIA+ Australians have experienced verbal abuse in the past 12 months

And according to the Australian Workplace Equality Index, only 43.86% of LGBTQIA+ Australians feel comfortable being out at work and over the last three years there has been a decline in the number of queer people who feel comfortable talking about their partners at work.

So, how do we acknowledge all of that and do something where we work and create that isn’t just reactive, but takes an active stance on LGBTQIA+ inclusion and protection in the workplace? And hopefully beyond? 


  1. Stop thinking of Pride Month or Mardi Gras or other LGBTQIA+ events as the only time you should be seeing and aligning with the community. The better solution is to work toward embedding, revising, and strengthening initiatives and policies that support LGBTQIA+ peoples, in collaboration with those peoples! Yep, it’s an all-year thing! 
  2. Connect, volunteer, and donate. Go beyond the social feeds and make a connection with a local LGBTQIA+ initiative or charity. If you have colleagues, think about organising a volunteering effort, donations, or promotion. Pick one that makes your heart sing and isn’t just about increasing your own profile or brand awareness. They need you, believe me.
  3. Inclusive language training. Yes, language changes, and often faster than some folks can keep up with. Regular check-ins with staff, freelancers, volunteers, and colleagues can help everyone feel more included and comfortable, including your potential next client or collaborator! 
  4. Do something fun. A Pride movie night, trivia night, virtual drag bingo, pride-ify your book club, create and share a pride playlist, or get out with your colleagues for an IRL drag show or queer theatre production – the options are kinda endless, and all of them will help make pride more accessible, and we all deserve a little fun. 
  5. Check out the Australian LGBTQIA+ Policy Guide. Written a few years ago by The Equality Project, it was developed to provide a high-level overview of the most prominent needs experienced broadly throughout Australian LGBTIQA+ communities –  areas identified as key domains for progressive policy supporting LGBTIQA+ inclusion and human rights in Australia.. A new one is set to be released in 2024, so sign up to their mail and be sure to receive it. 
  6. Be a Mentor/Find a Mentor. If it’s possible, consider establishing a mentorship program where experienced LGBTQIA+ elders can guide others in their professional development. It’s something that can be done formally or informally, and if you’re a solo practitioner there may be a local program, artist, or individual that could use your expertise and support on their journey.
  7. Create a visible strategy for LGBTQIA+ inclusion and awareness. This one’s more suited to larger organisations, but a team of virtually any size can actively engage with their queer colleagues and local community to understand what’s needed in the workplace. And engagement is key – queer voices should be a part of the process from the beginning, and an organisation’s leadership should champion the results by openly speaking about the strategy and its importance. Start small if you have to, but start. 
  8. Connect with Queer Leadership Groups. Many industries and professional groups have established leadership and networking groups to connect with. And if yours doesn’t, look for a local one like QLD’s Pride Business Network, Sydney’s Fruits, or one of the industry-specific groups that are easy to find on Meet Up and LinkedIn. 
  9. Amplify Queer Art and Creativity. Whether it’s by following them, buying their work, or inviting them for collabs, LGBTQIA+ artists and creatives bring powerfully unique perspectives into our world, and yours. 

As Pride Month comes to an end rainbow flags, progress flags, and multi-coloured displays will quietly disappear in most workplaces. Corporate logos and social media profile frames will revert to their seemingly normal everyday selves. But the LGBTQIA+ people in your life will still be there. They’ll still be looking to their friends and colleagues to support them in creating safe, equitable spaces for them to work, love, and live in. 

Pride Month is an opportunity for all of us to ensure that performative allyship (or rainbow-washing) gives way to true solidarity and understanding, and that we take the opportunity to be an active participant in that process. Even trying just a few of the suggestions in this blog article will make a difference to the places and spaces we deserve an equitable opportunity to thrive in. 

Final Notes: 

Be mindful of people who aren’t “out” or don’t want the spotlight. An individual’s orientation and gender identity are intimate subjects, and entirely individual. Pride Month is not a time to force anyone to ‘come out’ in the workplace or share details about someone’s identity with colleagues. It’s important to keep in mind that many LGTBQIA+ people may not want to be made the star of, or have the extra attention that could come with, a Pride Month initiative. Some of us prefer to go about work as per usual, being viewed simply as equals.

I want to also acknowledge that for many LGTBQIA+ people being visible at work, let alone celebrating Pride, may not be possible, and that workplace discrimination can be incredibly complex. If you’re experiencing workplace discrimination there are some resources we recommend checking out when it’s safe to do so. Fair Work Australia have a fact sheet to help navigate those first steps, and the Australian Human Rights Commission can provide advice if you think your human rights are not being recognised. 


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