One of our most important Intercom values is “we go further together.” That value doesn’t just apply to our work, it guides the way we relate to each other – and it’s especially relevant for Pride 2022.
In a world that’s so determined to single out members of the LGBTQI+ community, we stand strong with the help of our allies. Our global community appreciates the importance of strength in numbers and a huge chunk of that margin are the allies that show up to love us, support us, and help us make change.
Last year we celebrated Pride in the safety and comfort of our homes – we were out while the world was in. This year we’re out and proud, and we want to bring you in. So, let’s talk; what’s up with allies?
What do we mean by allies?
To us, an ally is someone who supports, stands up for, and encourages the LGBTQI+ community. Allies come in all shapes and sizes and so do the ways they support us.
“Allyship is a journey, and everyone starts at a different stage”
It’s important to understand that allyship is a journey, and everyone starts at a different stage. Often, people want to help, but aren’t sure where to begin or if they’re going about it the right way. Welcoming them into the community means allies at any level can continue to learn and find more impactful ways to support LGBTQI+ people.
We welcome allies now more than ever
Violent attacks against the Trans community (especially Trans folk of color) continue to rise, with Forbes labeling 2021 the ‘deadliest year’ for Trans people worldwide. And it’s not just Trans people who are subject to these horrific incidents, they’re a threat to the entire LGBTQI+ community.
Everywhere we look, our numbers are dwindled by senseless violence. When a community as tight as ours suffers even one injustice, we all feel it – so you can imagine the weight we bear when the news reports more than a death every day.
Given lawmakers’ inaction and lack of compassion for a marginalized community, we have to stop and ask: how do we protect ourselves? How do we stop losing friends, lovers, and family? We enact change – change within government, attitudes, and institutions – pushed by us and the allies who lift us up. Without our allies standing up for us, some people may have never changed their minds, and we may never have come as far as we are today.
Start, or continue, your allyship journey
Our LGBTQI+ employee resource group, Inter-Proud, aims to protect and celebrate LGBTQI+ life at Intercom, and we make sure that we have the resources we need to make our company a safe and happy place to thrive.
“Since Inter-Proud began in 2015, we’ve organized countless learning sessions, events, and discussions to make LGBTQI+ education at Intercom fun, engaging, and rewarding”
Part of this is about educating the allies, and future allies, around us so that they can support and encourage our work in the best way possible. Since Inter-Proud began in 2015, we’ve organized countless learning sessions, events, and discussions to make LGBTQI+ education at Intercom fun, engaging, and rewarding – and to strengthen our network of allies.
As we’ve said above, allyship is a journey. Everyone starts at a different place, and grows at their own pace. If you’re looking for small ways to bring allies in, here are some of the things we’ve focused on over the years that might help you in your workplace.
Deliver the LGBT101
Some people are ready to be allies, but just don’t feel they have the knowledge to offer the support they’d like. Giving everyone a chance to come together, learn about the LGBTQI+ community, and ask questions means that allies build a firm foundation of knowledge, and feel more confident to progress along their allyship journey.
“Bringing people in isn’t just about education, it’s also about having fun and meeting new folks”
Share the fun parts of Pride
While Pride is a reminder of the hardship our community has faced, and continues to face – it’s also a celebration. Bringing people in isn’t just about education, it’s also about having fun and meeting new folks. Inviting allies to celebrate our pride with us is a great way to show them what we love most about our community. At Intercom, we run a drag bingo session to bring people together in a fun, casual way.
Spotlight the importance of pronouns
The best way to encourage people to ask for correct pronouns is to explain why they’re important. Ask allies to add pronouns to their email signature, or their Slack profile, and to introduce themselves with pronouns. It only takes a few people to begin to normalize this practice in the workplace – and it can make a huge difference to the LGBTQI+ people in the company.
“Many people want to learn more about being an ally, not just to the LGBTQI+ community at work, but to LGBTQI+ friends and family”
Include families and friends
Many people want to learn more about being an ally, not just to the LGBTQI+ community at work, but to LGBTQI+ friends and family. Involving them is a great way to bring people in. For example, at Intercom, we’ve run an event called the ABCs of LGBT for the last two years, where parents can learn and discuss any questions they have about their children, seek answers to questions their children may be asking them at home, or just arm themselves with tools to teach their children to be kinder, more compassionate adults.
We’re always going to be out, but we get to pick and choose who we bring in. This year we want to bring everyone in for a safe space to learn, a fun place to party, and a smart starting point for making change. Welcome to our community.