Pride: Come as You Are

Jun 10, 2019 Beth Monaghan

To belong: To be connected to. To be affiliated with. To be a member. To be understood. To be accepted. To be included.

When the Stonewall riots took place fifty years ago in New York City, they were sparked by systematic acts of exclusion. The police had been conducting regular raids on gay bars and the one in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 was a breaking point. The police raided the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village and, among other things including injuring patrons, arrested “anyone not wearing at least three articles of gender-appropriate clothing.”

The span of 50 years has brought much positive change and understanding. There are now clothing makers like Primary that make gender-neutral clothing easier, and I recently saw a glossary of gender identification terms. I was happy to learn some new ones. I am cisgender, by the way, which means I most closely identify with the sex I was born with: female.

I suppose you can find a sense of belonging in two ways: through what you hate or what you love. But hate is insatiable and shuts down our capacity to expand. Understanding and curiosity are how we get somewhere new. They are the antidotes to judgment. They lead to love by taking away the fear that drives people to separate the world into the “good” of familiarity and the “bad” of the things not understood. And we need to get somewhere new in life and in business.

Change is the only constant, and if we want that change to be constructive, it requires new ideas and perspectives. I tell my two young girls that if everyone was just like them the world would be boring. So would business. It would also be less successful. A 2015 McKinsey study showed that from a financial performance standpoint companies with more diversity were “35% more likely to have returns above their respective national industry medians.”

I’ve always believed that what’s good for people is inherently good for business. What’s good for people is to feel as though they belong to their workplace communities. When we belong, we feel comfortable sharing our ideas. We feel more connected to the people we sit next to every day. And we feel more empowered to disagree. Belonging requires understanding, though.

For Pride Month 2019, we’re focused on belonging through fluency, because if we can talk about it we have a better shot at understanding it. (Big thanks to the InkHouse design team for all of the visuals!):

  • Our InkHouse swirl has gone rainbow and includes the brown and black stripes to be inclusive of people of color in the LGBTQIA community because as with the women’s movement, we make no progress unless it’s progress for everyone.

Screen Shot 2019-06-10 at 9.15.32 AM

  • We created a cheat sheet of gender pronouns to help us all become more curious, and maybe even find a better way to identify with ourselves.

Beth_pride blog_pronoun list (1)

  • And we created a kit of celebratory Pride emojis for anyone to use and share. Download them here.

The InkHouse journey to inclusion is nowhere near done, but we’re committed to it, and to building our community that will make it possible. We’ll be wearing our pins with pride this year to celebrate the many gorgeous ways of being.

Come as you are.

Topics: Culture, Pride Month 2019, Inclusivity
Beth Monaghan

Since the early days working around her kitchen table, Beth has grown Inkhouse into one of the top independent PR agencies in the country. She’s been named a Top Woman in PR by PR News, a Top 25 Innovator by PRovoke, and an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist. Beth designed Inkhouse’s signature Storytelling Workshop to mirror the literary hero’s journey and to unearth the emotional connections that bind an audience to a brand or idea. She also uses narratives to build Inkhouse’s culture, most recently through two books of employee essays, “Hindsight 2020” and “Aren’t We Lucky?”

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