Celebrating LGBTQ+ veterinary professionals - Pride month 2021

June is Pride month, and a great time for your veterinary team to show ongoing support for - and to celebrate - LGBTQ+ colleagues and pet owners.

Why? Not only is supporting others the right thing to do, it's well established that people respond positively when they see themselves reflected in the companies they work for or patron.

It shows a commitment to meeting the needs of diverse community groups - by celebrating, learning and being involved in ongoing equality efforts, you increase the likelihood that said communities return that respect with a commitment to engaging with you. For instance, 51% of millennials say they are more likely to buy from a company whose CEO speaks out on an issue they agree with.

Here's 3 ways you can demonstrate beneficial and impactful support for the LGBTQ+ community this month.

Get involved with local Pride initiatives

With veterinary clinics being a crucial pillar of the community, what better way to uplift queer communities than by aiding Pride projects in your local area. This could be a pride parade, a local LGBTQ+ peer group, or a charity benefitting queer communities.

Check if you can offer support-in-kind or monetary assistance to parades or charity initiatives that benefit lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people around you. This can be more effective than launching efforts in-house - as grassroots movements are often led directly by LGBTQ+ individuals.

It is also a sustainable way to get involved - helping projects will have a significantly longer term impact on local society, and boost morale amongst your team.

Review current people practices

Whilst an overwhelming majority of society supports the rights of LGBTQ+ peoples, there are sad occasions where individuals experience prejudice and discrimination on grounds of race, gender, religion or sexuality.

As a profession where safe work and mental wellbeing is paramount, it can be helpful to implement a robust Zero Tolerance policy to make clear that your clinic is a safe space for minority groups. Similarly, if your veterinary group possesses a Core Values document, why not integrate inclusivity as a key value?

Similarly, a simple message of your commitment to inclusion on job adverts does a lot of legwork in demonstrating your support of diversity, and lets prospective employees know your workplace respects equality.

Make room and listen

As a business owner, you’re the most senior role model for inclusive behaviour. At the same time, you can’t be expected to have all of the answers straight away.

As you learn more about diversity, equity and inclusion (or DEI), acknowledge you’re on a journey. This will encourage others in your team to acknowledge where they have more work to do.

You may choose to hold an informal staff forum to discuss what more can be done to accommodate LGBTQ+ individuals, and how to support them to excel at work. This also creates opportunities for dialogue that inspires unique ideas that fit naturally to the rhythm of your business.

Jonathan Taylor, occupational psychologist at Pearn Kandola, says that managers can show inclusive leadership to all employees by encouraging input from everyone, valuing what people say and making sure everyone has the same opportunities. “A lot of organisations talk about celebrating difference, but true inclusion happens when everyone feels catered for.”

Ultimately, Pride month is a time to uplift voices across the queer spectrum and look to what they need to feel included the whole year round. Though the month of June is one chock-full of rainbows and visibility, it's vital to recognise your commitment to diversity and inclusion is a lifelong cultural objective - for the betterment of your colleagues and the customers you serve.

"At PetsApp, we believe that pride month is an important time to support LGBTQ+ voices in our profession. This year, we're enjoying learning what we can do to support their progression, and to enable a diverse roster of leaders to better represent the community of pet owners we serve," says Thom Jenkins (CEO & Founder, PetsApp).

Latest from the blog