My first Pride Month at 9fin
- Megan Trotter
Organising Pride Month as a NB person
9fin is the first workplace where I’ve been completely out and visible as a non-binary person. Being out at work has been liberating and I am very grateful to work for a company that is incredibly accepting and accommodating of my needs for inclusion and belonging. This was my first year organising and celebrating Pride Month at work, and it felt important to organise events and activities that would promote inclusivity and belonging for other LGBTQIA+ 9finners as well.
As a UXer turned PXer, my starting point was to ask our people what events and activities they would enjoy, that would add the most value in celebrating our LGBTQIA+ 9finners, whilst raising awareness of the issues the community faces. There were some fantastic suggestions, and so Josh Salazar, our People Partner, and I organised an activity for each suggestion on each week of Pride Month.
We ran a bunch of sessions for Pride month in direct response to 9finner suggestions
💬 Pride 101 Talk
One 9finner highlighted the need to educate and remind people that Pride is still a protest, especially because of all the hate crimes going on in the world lately. So we organised for Justin Farrance to share some personal stories with our team that highlighted the need for Pride, built empathy for LGBTQIA+ identities, and shared some tips on how to be an ally.
My personal favourite tip for being an ally was Justin’s +1 rule, where allies go above and beyond by adding LGBTQIA+ events that they plan to attend to a colleague's calendar to encourage them to join. One of my biggest fears and anxieties about running the pride events this month was that people would feel too busy to join and we’d end up with an empty room. That wasn’t the case, and later in the month, I heard from one of our team members that they joined our second event (see below) because someone else had applied the +1 rule.
I wasn’t the only person who enjoyed Justin’s talk though, both of our founders attended and asked some really interesting questions in the Q&A section about the role they could play in making 9fin an even more inclusive place for LGBTQIA+ 9finners and showing commitment to diversity:
I was very grateful to our guest speaker Justin Farrance, for a great talk and for illustrating some practical and impactful ways for advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace. In particular the corporate and business environment. Ideas I’ll definitely be taking on and trying as a company leader — Huss EL-Sheikh, CTO and Founder
🤭 Drag Comedy Cabaret
When coming up with ideas for a social activity, someone said going to a Drag show might be a fun way to celebrate queer culture. So, a group of us went along to see the iconic drag comedian Lady Bushra to celebrate and have a few laughs. We had a fantastic turnout, and one of our 9finners was lucky enough to get on stage. One of my favourite parts of this night was when I heard that some of our team hadn’t ever been to a Drag show before and that they really enjoyed celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community:
I am very grateful for the care and work that went into 9fin’s Pride events. This is the first company that I worked for that has held events for Pride and it has made such an impact on establishing a welcoming environment. The events allowed us to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and learn how to be better allies. **— Jennifer Munnings, ESG Analyst
🙌 Pride ABC (Ally, Bingo & Cupcakes)
Another 9finner mentioned that they would love a session on how to be an ally. So for the event we ran in the middle of the month, our People Partner, Josh Salazar, facilitated a discussion on 9finners learnings from the Pride 101 talk about how to be an ally. To help our 9finners understand the history of Pride and the various LGBTQIA+ identities, we then played a game of Pride bingo whilst enjoying some rainbow cupcakes.
Before Pride month I wasn’t aware what it meant to be an ‘ally.’ I thought Pride was just a celebration. Mission complete. I naively believed that sharing values made me an ally. But now I understand that Pride is an ongoing fight, and that true allyship demands our proactive action. — Jordan Rolph, Senior Product Designer
🏳️⚧️ Trans-pride talk
Finally, one of our 9finners shared the importance of recognising the differences between Pride and Trans-pride. So, I held an interactive talk to help our people learn about the many transgender identities, microaggressions and how to speak up against them, and what helps non-binary people belong in the workplace. We also watched a great TED talk by Jackson Bird on how to talk and listen to transgender people
This was the most nerve-wracking session for me because I shared some of my personal experiences of how afraid I felt of coming out when I realised I identify as non-binary. However, the overwhelmingly positive response and thanks received for organising Pride month have helped me to ignore the voice in my head that sometimes tells me to get back into the closet or stop using they/them pronouns:
Celebrating my first Pride Month with 9fin, I was excited to see how we would all come together to champion LGBTQ+ rights. With all the fun activities over the past month, it made me meet new people I might never of spoke too, and learn a lot of new things about pride and why it is crucial we keep making progress towards a more inclusive society — Harry Goodman, Marketing Executive
I’m proud of the turnout for Pride Month at 9fin
At the end of Pride Month, we asked our 9finners what they learned as a result of Pride Month, and we had some great responses which I’ve shared in this article above. Overall, I’m incredibly proud of how much participation we saw in each of the activities we organised. If I had any doubts or hesitations about the value of running Pride Month activities at the start of the month, I don’t anymore. I’ve heard from plenty of others that it’s made them feel even more that 9fin is an inclusive place to work:
It's been great to see the amount of participation in the 9fin Pride events we've had this month. It shows that 9fin is a place where people can feel safe to express themselves. I think a lot of the shame we feel internally is based on what society has been like so far. So all of the activities this month have helped to show that contrary to that, 9fin is a safe place where people are encouraged to be more open. **— Bianca Boorer, Distressed Debt Reporter
I am grateful to be part of a company that genuinely cares and provides an inclusive environment for everyone to express themselves, grow, and support the incredible LGBTQ+ community. — Dani Troiani, Visual Designer
I am proud to be part of a diverse and inclusive workplace where your identity and contributions are celebrated! — Amy O'Donovan, Marketing Executive
But even for me, it’s helped me to feel more accepting of myself and allowed me to show up even more authentically at work. Stay tuned for more shares on other DEIB initiatives we’re running at 9fin to create empathy and awareness for folks who need it.
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