Companies should champion LGBTQ+ inclusion all year round – not just in Pride Month

Three corporate workers in a line, with rainbow Pride LGBTQ colours in the background

Ahead of Pride Month, Brad Baumoel, global head of LGBTQ+ affairs at JPMorgan Chase & Co, reflects on why companies should be taking an “always-on” approach to LGBTQ+ inclusion.

Major corporations around the world have become increasingly vocal in their support of the LGBTQ+ community. Each Pride Month, more and more big businesses are sponsoring floats at Pride parades, filling our social feeds with rainbow logos and launching public facing campaigns to signify their solidarity. 

I love Pride Month. I look forward to it all year. But I’ve always felt to truly celebrate the diversity and rich history of the LGBTQ+ community, we need more than one month a year. And when it comes to the inclusion efforts of companies, initiatives must extend past Pride Month and move beyond public gestures or one-off marketing campaigns. Instead, companies should see the value of investing in and lifting up the LGBTQ+ community 365 days a year. 

That always-on approach to LGBTQ+ inclusion is more important than ever.

Brad Baumoel, global head of LGBT+ affairs at JPMorgan Chase & Co, speaking during an event
Brad Baumoel is global head of LGBTQ+ affairs at JPMorgan Chase & Co. (PhotosByGooch/Supplied)

LGBTQ+ people continue to face strong headwinds. There has been an unprecedented number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills proposed in US states targeting the most vulnerable members of our community, particularly transgender and gender expansive youth. And, although we’ve seen some progress around the world, in over 60 countries being LGBTQ+ is still criminalised. 

Now, more than ever, we need our organisations to go beyond the floats and rainbow logos and take meaningful action. We need our leaders to speak up and condemn the homophobia and transphobia which sadly exist throughout our communities and implement policies and programs which help LGBTQ+ employees, customers and communities thrive.  

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Inclusion should never just be a nice-to-have or moral obligation. Creating an inclusive economy where more people can participate is a business imperative. 

As the global head of JPMorgan Chase’s Office of LGBTQ+ Affairs, I lead a first-of-its-kind business unit dedicated to advancing equity and inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community. This means not only having best-in-class benefits and policies for our employees, but also ensuring LGBTQ+ inclusion in our products and services. For LGBTQ+ consumers, we’re providing financial health education to help them reach their personal and professional goals. For LGBTQ+ small business owners, we’re offering resources, coaching and access to funders to accelerate their growth. And, through our Tech for Social Good program, we’re leveraging the technical expertise of our talent to build technology solutions for LGBTQ+-focused nonprofits.  

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Creating an inclusive economy where more people can participate is a business imperative 

Brad Baumoel, global head of LGBTQ+ affairs at JPMorgan Chase & Co

Action is key. So whether you are driving initiatives for your employees, customers or the communities where you operate, consider what will make a long-term impact on equity for the LGBTQ+ community, which will in turn create opportunity for us all. Start by establishing policies and practices to support, retain and promote your LGBTQ+ workforce. Invest in partnerships with LGBTQ+ communities and causes. Leverage your influence in the marketplace to advocate for LGBTQ+ issues. Pressure test products and services to ensure they are inclusive. 

With collective action, we can tackle issues that clearly lie beyond the scope of any single organisation or community.

And by all means, wave a big rainbow flag from a float during Pride Month, but remember, that is just one moment of many where we need to make an impact and create an inclusive culture that lasts.

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