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Celebrating Gay Pride Month at Your Law Firm

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By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on June 16, 2016 3:56 PM

June is Pride Month, a month to celebrate the achievements of LGBT individuals and a month that has, sadly, already been punctuated by the tragic mass shooting that killed 49 patrons of an Orlando gay club.

If your firm doesn't yet have plans to celebrate Pride, you've still got time. Here are some ideas on how to get started.

Starting in the Firm

The legal industry isn't the best when it comes to diversity, but there's one place where it has stood out lately: LGTB rights. The nations law firms "set the standard for LGBT workplace inclusion," according to the Human Rights Campaign, and the legal community came out in support of marriage equality years before the public as a whole got on board.

So let's keep the trend going this June. If you don't already have LGBT-inclusive firm policies, now's the time to adopt them. These include nondiscrimination policies that cover sexual orientation and gender identity, benefits for domestic partners and same-sex spouses, and transgender-inclusive health insurance coverage, among others.

For specific events, consider hosting events touching on landmark legal cases, such as a lunch-and-learn on the legacy of Loving v. Virginia or a presentation on the legal strategies that led up to Obergefell v. Hodges.

Sponsoring professional development around LGBT-specific legal issues is also a great way to celebrate. These could cover everything from same-sex adoption, to the rights of transgender youth, to newish EEOC protections for LGBT workers.

And, of course, a Pride cocktail hour is something all lawyers can get behind.

Stepping Out

Pride shouldn't be kept totally in house, however. Consider doing an activity in or with the public. This could include attending the local gay pride parade or celebrating at a gay bar. (Make sure no one gets too sloppy though; you don't want any lawsuits.)

Pride Month is also a good time to give back to the community, for a day or for a much longer period of time. For one-off events, consider volunteering for a LGBT charity, such as an LGBT youth and homeless services organization or hosting a blood drive to raise awareness about the rules prohibiting sexually active gay men from donating blood.

For a long-term commitment, consider establishing a formal pro bono program with LGBT legal service groups. Many cities have legal service nonprofits for low-income transgender individuals or people living with HIV/AIDS, for example, which help LGBT clients deal with specific legal issues -- and they're often looking for support from attorneys.

Establishing a long-term relationship with such groups will truly demonstrate your commitment to LGBT rights and to public interest work. After all, Pride shouldn't end with June.

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