Sievo Culture

PRIDE Month: How to Become an Ally?

Jasmiina Toikka Jun 28, 2022

It’s June! Which means PRIDE month. We’re so excited about it that the first idea that pops into our heads is to place the rainbow flag everywhere near our logo. 

Luckily before almost falling for the pinkwashing move, we made a pause to reflect: What have we done as a company so far to support the LGBTQIA+ community? Are our actions nowadays a corporate standard? Are we really being an Ally? 

The result was a bit shocking to us. Yes, as Sievo we have taken “small” steps and acts of inclusion, including gender-free toilets, freedom to work as you like, and freedom to dress and be as you like.  

 We celebrate individuality and self-expression in our office culture. Age, gender, nationality, or cultural background do not play a part in our recruitment decisions. We had our first DEI training for the company and are still learning about the topic as a group. Additionally, we’ve encouraged Sievonians to add pronouns to their profile in Slack, with a developed Slack bot command to automate the process. 

Is that good enough though? And if not, what can we do to be a true ally to the LGBTQIA+ community? 

How to become an Ally 

LGBTQIA+ Pride month celebrates all the progress in queer rights, remembers the struggle and fight for those rights, and reminds us about how much there is still to be done. LGBTQIA+ people still are one of the most marginalised groups in the world. 

Pride month also acknowledges that progress is a joint effort, made together with queer allies. Ally is a person that actively promotes and tries to improve the circumstances for individuals from a marginalized or disadvantaged group.  

Barriers for allyship are ignorance, lack of confidence, lack of awareness and competence in effective allyship. There is uncertainty around how to be a good ally when your background and experience base are so different, how to acknowledge your privileged position, and how to help in practice.  

Allyship is simple, but not always easy. Allyship is a lifelong process of building relationships with marginalized communities that are based on consistency, trust, and accountability. Allyship is not self-define, but the efforts must be recognized by those you are looking to ally with. You don’t become an ally to promote your professional or personal brand, but for the moral choice and authentic intent.  

Allyship is an opportunity to learn and build confidence in others. 

Key components of allyship includes Act, Learn, Listen and Yield your privilege.   

Act Act stands for speaking up and calling out inappropriate, anti-queer language, behavior and cultures. Taking a neutral side and not speaking up is not allyship. Underrepresented people may feel uncomfortable raising issues due to risk of jeopardizing relationships and job opportunities. Ally speaks up for the rights of the queer community even when there are no queer people around. Sometimes a gentle reminder can change behaviors to be more gender neutral and queer inclusive. Actively lift others up by advocating and sharing growth opportunities.  

Learn Learn stands for learning about queer culture, LGBTQIA- experiences and what it means to grow up queer and how that can affect the person now. Recognize systematic inequalities and realize the harmful impact of micro-aggressions. Practice self-reflection and foster change. Engage your whole organization with getting involved with diversity, equity and inclusion topics and agenda.  

Listen Listen stands for supporting and giving room for queer perspective and truly understanding what the people have been through. Believe in underrepresented people’s experiences and stories.  

Yield your privilege - Yielding your privilege means standing alongside those without the privilege. It means using your status to help queer people be heard and achieve equitable status in society without having to compromise who they are or how they express themselves. In practice it can be championing queer-inclusive spaces and practices in our organization while putting stop to non-inclusive practices.  

Allyship checklist: 

  • Call out and speak up 
  • Lift underrepresented individuals/groups up 
  • Learn about queer culture  
  • Share information and engage teams with DEI agenda 
  • Recognize inequalities and privileges  
  • Listen and follow an array of voices  
  • Create safe spaces (physically, mentally, digitally)  
  • Promote inclusive practices 
  • Use more inclusive language – e.g., Partner instead of husband/wife 
  • Give DEI and unconscious bias training regularly  
  • Use your privilege to give representation space for the underrepresented voices   

Thinking that LGBTQIA+ inclusion is complete is an illusion.  

There’s still massive progress to be made. We can always learn and educate ourselves to make the world a safer space. 

Even “small” steps matter. But once you have conquered those, then the time for bigger actions is up. This month was a good opportunity for us to reflect (This is the power of monthly celebrations for non-represented communities) We’ll for sure have room for more actions that we can take to -slowly but steadily- become a true ally of equality in all its shapes.  

In the meantime, let’s embrace and celebrate with pride!🏳️‍🌈 

JAXUpride

 

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