How to make your business more inclusive this Pride Month

How to make the LGBTQIA+ community feel welcome in your business.

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For businesses, June Pride Month presents an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equality. However, LGBTQIA+ inclusiveness isn't just for pride month; Destination North East England have collated some quick tips and wins to make LGBTQIA+ communities feel welcome, and how can businesses genuinely and effectively contribute to this.

So, how can your business make LGBTQIA+ communities feel welcome? 🏳️‍🌈

  • Educate employees about LGBTQIA+ issues, the importance of pronouns, and how to create a supportive environment. This helps build empathy and understanding within the workplace. Destination North East England are providing FREE Proud Allies training sessions across the North East to help educate and provide support for visitor economy businesses and employees.
  • Show your support by participating in Pride Month activities. This could include flying LGBTQIA+ flags, sponsoring local Pride events, hosting educational webinars, and sharing lived experiences of LGBTQIA+ employees. Sign up to our Everybody Welcome initiative to find out how you can ensure everyone visiting the North East has an inclusive welcome.
  • Use inclusive language and imagery in your marketing campaigns. Showcase LGBTQIA+ individuals and stories in your advertising to reflect the diversity of your customer base. This visibility can make both employees and customers feel more included in your businesses communication and marketing platforms.
  • Partner with LGBTQIA+ organisations and support local initiatives. This could involve making donations or offering volunteer support. By engaging with the community, businesses can make a difference and demonstrate their commitment to LGBTQIA+ rights. Visit Northern Pride to find out what is happening in the North East during Pride Month and how to get involved.
  • Ensure that your physical and virtual spaces are safe and welcoming for LGBTQIA+ individuals. This could mean implementing gender-neutral toilets, offering inclusive language options on digital platforms, and ensuring that all communication channels are free from harassment and discrimination
  • LGBTQIA+ inclusiveness isn't just for one month of the year. Try and implement LGBTQIA+ inclusiveness initiatives all year round, such as setting up an LGBTQIA+ employee groups or choosing an LGBTQIA+ charity to raise money for year-round.
We have ambitions to make the North East one of Europe’s most welcoming, inclusive and accessible visitor destinations – this training is a vital part of that journey. We are already renowned for our welcome and this training will help businesses to capitalise on that welcome, helping businesses to be LGBTQIA+ visitor ready. We are pleased to continue working with Northern Pride and Curious Arts who create a safe space for tourism businesses to discuss inclusivity and help to build confidence in the use of inclusive language. The LGBTQIA+ spending power in the UK is estimated to be worth £6 billion annually, so engaging inclusively with the community also aligns with our ambitions to attract more international visitors as well as being the right thing to do.
Laura Freer, Head of Visitor Economy Development, for Destination North East England.
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Why is it important to be inclusive?

Businesses that align with these values contribute to a more inclusive society. An inclusive workplace where all employees feel respected and valued is crucial for morale and productivity. The proportion of people that identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual is at an all time high of 2% of the UK’s population, and people who identify as transgender is 0.5% (Office for National Statistics). When LGBTQIA+ employees see their identities acknowledged and celebrated, they are more likely to be engaged, motivated, and loyal.

For many LGBTQIA+ people, visiting a new place can be a daunting experience. New hate crime statistics released in 2023 by the ONS reveal that England and Wales continues to become a less safe place for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people. The increase in hate crimes against trans people has increased by 11% in a year, and by 186% in the last five years and hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation are still up by 112% in the last five years, despite 2023's slight decrease of 6%.

By equipping your staff with the appropriate training and language and by visibly and authentically showing your support for LGBTQIA+ communities, visitors can be safe in the knowledge that your business is a safe and welcoming place for them.

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