Dorian Rhea Debussy, The Ohio State University – LGBTQ+ Workers Want More Than Pinkwashing

LGBTQ+ workers want more than companies appearing to support causes at work.

Dorian Rhea Debussy, lecturer of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at The Ohio State University, discusses what else should be done.

Dorian Rhea Debussy, Ph.D. (she/her) is the inaugural Director of External Affairs at Equitas Health, which is one of the largest LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS serving healthcare organizations in the country. Rhea also currently serves as a Lecturer of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at The Ohio State University. Prior to joining Equitas Health in June 2022, Rhea jointly served as the Associate Director for the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and a Visiting Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Kenyon College. Her forthcoming book project is currently under contract with Columbia University Press.

LGBTQ+ Workers Want More Than Pinkwashing

Annually, more and more companies seem to recognize Pride Month. But, a recent survey from Indeed shows that LGBTQ+ workers expect more than this once-a-year acknowledgment from their employers. In fact, some employees actually criticize such behavior as just pinkwashing – i.e. the practicing of appearing to promote LGBTQ+ rights, while still perpetuating harmful practices. So, what do LGBTQ+ workers actually want?

In addition to being concerned about the rise in anti-LGBTQ+ legislation across the country, respondents to the survey expressed the need for more inclusive workplaces. Sixty percent of respondents reported that they lost a promotion because of anti-LGBTQ+ bias, while a similar number reported being targeted with a ‘write-up’ because of their identity. More than half also reported serious issues of wage discrimination. And while all LGBTQ+ workers are statistically likely to encounter a wage gap, transgender people – especially women and people of color – face even wider disparities.

LGBTQ+ workers also shared that culturally responsive employee benefits were crucial. However, less than one-quarter of survey respondents said that their employer offered such benefits. Healthcare coverage with LGBTQ+ friendly providers, fertility assistance, and gender affirming surgical coverage were among the top benefits desired.

Even so, many companies still fail to offer trans-inclusive benefits or LGBTQ+ competency training, and data shows that LGBTQ+ employees are increasingly expecting more of their employers. On the heels of the so-called “Great Resignation,” employers would be wise to take notice.

Read More:
[The Conversation] – LGBTQ+ workers want more than just pride flags in June
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