“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.”
- Brené Brown
New York City, 1969. In the early hours of June 28, law enforcement raided Stonewall Inn, a famous Greenwich Village gay club. The raid incited a riot in the area that would come to be historically referred to as the Stonewall Uprising. The riots catalyzed the modern gay rights movement, and they also birthed what we know as Pride Month today — a month dedicated to celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) individuals.
Festivity and allyship cannot be mutually exclusive
Although Pride Month is a time of celebration, it also serves as a period of reflection. Here’s why in numbers:
- An extensive study by the National Center for Transgender Equality found that 40% of the respondents have attempted suicide at some point in their lives; that is nearly 9 times the attempted suicide rate in the U.S. today.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently concluded that LGBTQ youth contemplate suicide 3 times as much as heterosexual youth.
- When examining LGBTQ poverty in the U.S., the Williams Institute determined that LGBTQ people of color are more likely to live in poverty than their white counterparts.
With these numbers top of mind, it is essential that — now more than ever — we serve as allies to LGBTQ individuals in our communities. While a majority of U.S. adults are more inclusive today, these numbers emphasize that there is still much work to be done. For many, that begins in the workplace.
Where workplaces and LGBTQ inclusiveness stand today
In our industry, LGBTQ individuals are finding support behind the wheel. The percentage of LGBTQ truckers is growing, and the nature of the job seems to play a vital role. Some individuals have expressed feeling unwelcome where they reside, and they find the majesty of the open road to be a saving grace.
That doesn’t mean that our industry doesn’t have work to do; we still have a long way to go concerning diversity and inclusion. And many industries can say the same when it comes to LGBTQ inclusiveness:
- The National Center for Transgender Equality report more than 1 in 4 transgender people have lost a job due to workplace bias.
- In 2017, when the unemployment rate for working-class Americans stood at 9%, it stood at 13% for LGBTQ individuals.
- The Human Rights Campaign found that 46% of LGBTQ employees in the U.S. remain closeted at work.
You can be an ally now and always
The excellent news about allyship is it’s a simple but powerful act that can begin with each one of us. It doesn’t just start and end in the workplace, but it can certainly begin there — and for many, it is imperative that it does. Many of us spend ample time with our coworkers. Imagine going into work every day feeling closeted, afraid, unseen, unloved, and unaccepted.
Here are several ways you can support your LGBTQ employees and coworkers:
- Push for workplace policies that protect individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation.
- Never assume or push. Identities are personal, and it should always be left to the individual to share what they want to share about their own lives.
- If you hear an inappropriate joke or comment, report it. Jokes or hurtful comments made at the expense of marginalized individuals should never be tolerated — whether in or out of the workplace.
- Be kind. You have no idea who your smile or morning greeting could be helping.
We want to wish all of our LGBTQ readers a very happy Pride Month! At Omnitracs, we aim to foster a community of inclusivity for all. For more blog reading, check out our 2019 Pride blog post on LGBTQ truckers!