By: Lindsay Owen, Manager, Training Professionals
PSCU’s LGBTQ+ employee resource group, PSCUnity, had planned to celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month, which is recognized in the month of June across the world. However, amid the suffering and turmoil happening right now across America, we realized the message everyone needs right now is not one of celebration or excitement, but one of unity.
In fact, we celebrate Pride every June because of demonstrations by our marginalized LGBTQ+ community. In June 1969, the Stonewall riots emerged as demonstrations by the LGBTQ+ community against unfounded police raids and brutality. This June, as we honor Pride Month, we are specifically spotlighting people of color that have made a difference in our community. It was activist Marsha P. Johnson, an African American transgender woman, who led the charge for so many during that time. Those riots and protests, both peaceful and otherwise, led to genuine progress and change. We believe the same will be true as we come out on the other side of this together.
Driving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Employee Success
At PSCU, we believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strengthens the company by inviting a diverse range of experiences, valuing those differences so that employees can bring their whole selves to the workplace, and acknowledges different needs, experiences and opportunities. It has been proven that employees are more successful and engaged when they feel their uniqueness and authenticity are embraced at work – this drives innovation, collaboration, and the attraction and retention of a high-performing workforce.
Founded in 2018, PSCUnity is built on a mission of creating a community of LGBTQ+ employees and allies to foster a respectful and diverse environment to support, connect, educate, advocate, and celebrate inclusive practices.
In culmination of these efforts, PSCU is proud to be accepting a 2020 Business of Pride Award from the Tampa Bay Business Journal on June 18. PSCU has been specifically named an Ally Company for our programs ensuring LGBTQ+ equality in the workplace and supporting LGBTQ+ individuals and issues.
Engaging the Community
Our employee resource groups (ERGs) are active in the communities where our employees live and work. PSCUnity has proudly supported the LGBTQ+ community, both internally and externally. PSCU also launched social learning communities to cultivate collaborative environments for all the ERGs and their members. Educational materials and community resources are shared within this environment, and it also provides employees a chance to connect with their affinity groups and allies. This Pride Month we’ve focused on intersectionality, which is the overlapping identities and experiences of people, particularly those in marginalized communities.
Creating an Environment of Authenticity
The most important part of our continuing efforts is raising the awareness about the experience of our communities. For PSCUnity, we focus on the importance of bringing your authentic self to work and how this relates to employee engagement and confidence. PSCU has partnered several times with Metro Wellness in Tampa, Fla., to bring educational speaker Cole Foust to speak about LGBTQ+ Inclusivity and Awareness, to all levels of leaders and employees.
Protections in the Workplace and Beyond
In a historical decision this Monday, the Supreme Court affirmed that sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination are prohibited under the Civil Rights Act. While this is a huge win for the LGBTQ+ community, there is still work to be done. This comes on the heels of an effort to roll back nondiscrimination protections for transgender invididuals seeking health care. In addition, more than half of U.S. states continue to lack explicit laws protecting people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations.
With the credit union philosophy of people helping people, a unique opportunity exists to support and strengthen our industry, members, and communities by examining business practices to ensure they do not create a disadvantage for LGBTQ+ individuals in financial services. One such organization looking to unite credit unions and the LGBTQ+ community is CU Pride, created by credit union professionals, which has announced it will host the first Virtual Pride Event on Friday, June 19 (registration is available here). We hope to see you there!
While there is much we have accomplished in the mission to bring greater visibility and support to the LGBTQ+ community (both at PSCU and beyond), there is still much to do. From ensuring our own employees feel safe and supported in bringing their whole selves to work, to fighting for greater protections on a global scale. And that’s where our allies come in.
Here are just a few ways credit unions can support LGBTQ+ employees and incorporate DEI practices in their organization:
- Check out CU Pride and get engaged in the discussion
- Look to your local LGBTQ+ organizations and get involved
- Offer LGBTQ+ friendly benefits
- Establish strong anti-discrimination policies that specifically call out non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
- Develop support programs for your LGBTQ+ employees and learn how to be a good ally
As stated by our President and CEO Chuck Fagan, PSCU is built on inclusion and our belief that our employees are our number one asset. Diversity is what makes our culture what it is.
Lindsay Owen manages a team of training professionals that support the learning and development of PSCU staff. She is also proud to be a part of PSCU’s Inclusion and Diversity steering committee, as well as leading PSCU’s first LGBTQ+ Allies Employee Resource Group, PSCUnity.