WilsonHCG team members recently had a candid discussion where our PRIDE@Wilson employee belonging group (EBG) chair, Riley Noonan, discussed topics around being inclusive, gender identity, how parents can speak to their kids and nurture an accepting environment and allyship in the LGBTQIA+ community to mark Pride month. Part of our diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) policies at WilsonHCG is to approach it as a mindset, and not an initiative. We celebrate everyone’s differences and foster a culture of belonging where employees are encouraged to be themselves without judgment.
Here are some of the highlights from the recent session:
Our EBG is about community
PRIDE@Wilson is a place where employees can be themselves. It’s also a place to learn about allyship and where anonymity is respected, as some countries still restrict rights for LGBTQIA+ people.
Your identity can change over time
Just because you self-identify as a lesbian, for example, doesn’t mean that preference can’t change over time as you grow. This is especially true for younger teens and adults who are still discovering themselves and who they are. You can change over time, including your pride flags and identity — it’s OK!
You’re not beholden to one label your entire life. Self-labeling has become more popular in recent years to help establish a lexicon for others to understand they’re not alone and to identify themselves. It’s not mandatory, but it is a way others can express themselves!
Give younger people time to explore themselves
Being an ally to children as they grow gives them time to experiment and discover who they are. That may include different labels, pronouns or flags. They may even want to talk to you about it. That’s great! It means they trust you enough to open up and tell you a piece of who they are. Listen without judgment and help guide them with resources and respect. Even if you don’t understand it, you can respect their journey.
It’s quite possible your kids may have experienced discrimination or been bullied about how they identify (if they do so openly). That’s one reason it’s important to offer support and resources for them to speak to you and other kids and teens who are in similar situations.
The Trevor Project (international)
US: CDC resources for youth, educators and family members
Allyship is about amplification, not overshadowing
Being an ally in any community is not about trying to speak for others’ experiences. This often invalidates the very real struggles and barriers LGBTQIA+ community members experience every day. Instead, as an ally, listen more than you speak. Then, you can amplify the messages you’re hearing and support fellow people in the community. Understanding breeds camaraderie, and the more you walk in another person’s shoes, the more you’ll be able to offer support and compassion to create a more equitable, diverse environment where everyone is celebrated throughout society. For us, it starts in the workplace and spreads into all areas of life.
These chats are regularly expressed in monthly EBG meetings at WilsonHCG. Employee-led and created, these groups meet regularly to foster camaraderie and elevate their communities. It’s part of WilsonHCG’s culture every day, not just during holidays and events.