14 Ways to Support LGBT Employees - Dennis Velco - OutBuro - Employee Engagement Satisfaction Talent Acquisition Recriuting Recruitment Marketing Job Seeker Canidate Attraction Profressional Community

14 Ways to Support LGBT Employees (2021)

Over the past 16 years or so, companies and organizations in all industries have moved towards embracing, supporting, and championing LGBTQ workplace equality. Focusing on creating a safe and welcoming workplace for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, pansexual, heteroflexible, and questioning (LGBTQIA+) employees have many benefits beyond just being the right thing to do. Many studies have clearly demonstrated that companies that truly support diversity and inclusion as part of their corporate DNA thrive in many areas such as but limited to:

  • Innovation
  • Employee satisfaction and engagement
  • Increased employee retention
  • Higher qualified talent acquisition pool
  • Increased productivity
  • Improved team collaboration
  • Improved employee mental health
  • Reduction of absentee/sick days
  • Increased brand positive LGBTQ and ally perception
  • Client/customer satisfaction
  • Increase in financial performance
  • Shareholder value

So, supporting LGBTQIA+ employees is not just the right thing to do, it is good for business too. Here are some steps toward supporting your LGBT employees and attracting great talent candidates. Your LGBTQ employees and your clients/customers are tightly linked check out the LGBTQ Consumer and Employer Branding are Commingled article for more on that.

US Supreme Court Decision: Great Step But Still Work Remains

In July 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled that sexual orientation and gender identity are now covered under the US Equal Opportunity Employment Act for Non-Discrimination. That is cause for celebration, yet does not automatically transform all employers into workplaces that respect diversity, embrace inclusion, or have a work culture that is welcoming. In just the United States, based on other issues such as gender equality, racial equality, and sexual harassment, one can without much effort extrapolate that it may be decades before LGBT employees are fully and openly accepted in all workplaces, in all industries, and in all locations – if ever. We believe firmly in being the change and benefiting from it. Also, please keep in mind that in over 50% of the states in the US it is still legal to discriminate against LGBTQ persons in housing, finance, hate crime against LGBT persons is not criminalized, and many other issues that devalue and dehumanize the LGBT citizens. There is much work to do in the United States and countries around the world.

Your efforts to create a safe and welcoming workplace where all are treated equally with the same opportunities to contribute, grow and thrive are greatly appreciated.

Diversity, Inclusion & Welcoming

Diversity is about ensuring you have people of different backgrounds and experiences represented in the workplace. Inclusiveness takes it a step further by creating an environment where people’s differences of thought and experience are actually appreciated. Welcoming enables employees to be their authentic selves where their uniqueness may shine adding perspectives that are respected and potentially individually or collectively a business advantage.

A simple analogy is:

  • Diversity is being invited to a party.
  • Inclusive is while at the party, a cute person asks you to dance.
  • Welcoming is dancing like you have no cares in the world and no one is watching. Dang, check out those moves!
  • World-class is you inspire everyone to jump up to dance just as openly and boldly.
  • Everyone raves what an amazing party it is. Selfies are snapped and shared. It goes viral on social media. Your brand becomes the hottest epic party.

Ok, in this example eventually the neighbors may call the cops to shut the party down, but in business, it attracts top talent, employee satisfaction is high, employee retention is high, customer attraction and retention are high. You and your amazing team are crushing it.

So, how to get there?

1. Authenticity and Clear Mission

Being authentic in all aspects is critical. All too often we have heard of reports by employees that their employer launched a drive to obtain an LGBT Corporate Equality rating and once obtained management support nearly vanished and previous funding dissipated to a fraction. It makes the employees feel disenfranchised and like used pawns in the corporate goal to receive external publicity. Understand that true D&I can lead to great financial rewards, but if not deeply rooted in respect, value, and authenticity, you can do harm to your brand, employee morale, and customer perception. If issues arise it can leave a damaging scare that can take years to recover from, if ever. Don’t be that kind of organization. It is not necessary. As linked above, being authentic in supporting diversity and inclusion is proven to improve the company’s financial performance for many reasons. But why is a mission necessary? Because diversity alone does not necessarily mean there is the inclusion or a welcoming work culture. A clear mission will outline the objective and measurements. The LGBT community is very savvy so if striving to attract the LGBT customer market, they care about how you treat your LGBT employees and your authentic engagement in the community.

2. Top-level support

Ensure that LGBT employee support is a priority at the top senior management level. Have a top management staff person take the lead on LGBT employee inclusion. That person may not be LGBT themself, but an ally. This senior manager should be the LGBT employee resource group (ERG) executive sponsor. This person may be from any department. Indicate who your most senior-level employee who identifies as LGBT is on your OutBüro employer listing.

3. Take LGBT Reports of Discrimination and Harassment Seriously

Yes, in the United States it is now illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Is that enough? Do you feel that now covers you so there is no need for a company/organization non-discrimination policy based on sexual orientation or gender identity? If so, I bet your company/organization has policies covering gender, race, and religion. This is the same. I am also 99.9% sure you have a sexual harassment policy too, along with required annual training. This is no different. Your organization should have a strong non-discrimination policy in place, ensure it clearly states that it covers your recruitment and promotions. Create a communication plan to be sure all employees know what is not tolerated in the workplace. Not if, but when, homophobic bullying, discrimination, or harassment happens to acknowledge the validity of the concern raised, promptly follow procedures to investigate and take appropriate action. Ensure employees feel safe in making reports.

Have all reports reviewed by a team to reduce biases from even the HR staff. Do not assume that all human resources staff lack biases. Research and court case prove otherwise. Many discrimination lawsuits are based on the lack of action by the HR department. So take extra steps in training all HR staff and put teams in place with checks and balances instead of relying on just one gatekeeper. On your OutBüro employer listing link to your sexual orientation and gender identity non-discrimination policy. Make it easy for candidates to find it when researching you as a potential employer.

4. LGBT Employee Resource Group

Having an organized formal Employee Resource Group can go a long way in fostering an inclusive and welcoming work culture. It provides an opportunity to network and builds a sense of camaraderie. Many ERGs meet up during normal work hours to discuss work-related topics as well as off-hours social events to further the personal bonds that will translate into great working relationships. It is a great way to foster career development through mentoring. Encourage senior employees to mentor junior employees. If you support employee volunteering, the LGBT ERG could expand the organization’s LGBTQ community involvement by using their corporate volunteer hours in helping local LGBTQ charity nonprofit organizations and events. Encourage and support LGBT employees to participate in seminars and conferences. Encourage and support employees to participate in industry networking groups, LGBT professional associations, and to participate in content and groups on www.OutBuro.com – the LGBT professional and entrepreneur platform.

Having open and consistent dialogue with your LGBTQ employee resource group will improve employee engagement, company culture, and provide valuable information on ways to further innovate in the workplace. Create a company/Organization group on OutBüro where employees from around the globe can interact off company resources. Be an open group where prospective candidates may also join to connect with current employees, ask question, and get a great sense of you as an employer. Ask key ERG members to join the ERG Connections group on OutBüro. This is meant to be a Super Group for cross organization networking, sharing, learning and growing an LGBTQ ERG.

5. Support the Local LGBT Community

Show your support to the local LGBT community where you operate by providing information to employees about local events, groups, and resources. Sponsor a Pride Party, or even sponsor your LGBT ERG to participate in local Gay Pride events, have a corporate booth, use it for customer leads, and talent recruiting. Celebrate National Coming Out Day. Create a video series of employees sharing their stories of coming out personally and yet again professionally. Encourage volunteering at LGBT events throughout the year. Sponsor local organizations, from general support agencies, to those that provide needed services to the homeless, youth, seniors, persons living with compromised immune systems, students, and more. Sponsor local or national sporting leagues or teams. Sponsor the local gay men’s chorus or other cultural groups/events. Invite LGBT speakers to share their experiences with your team. There are also national and international organizations that support equality and human rights. The LGBT nonprofit sector operates on shoestring budgets and desperately could use your in-kind and financial support.

List and link to all the LGBTQ organizations and non-profits you support in whatever manner on your OutBüro Employer listing. So many companies do great things yet no one other than the benefiting organization has any clue. Show it. Tout it. It makes LGBT employees proud to work for you and it demonstrates to LGBT candidates, as well as customers, that you are involved in the community and therefore likely a super fantastic place to go to work or as a customer spend their money with.

6. Support LGBT Entrepreneurs

Sponsor the local LGBT chamber of commerce. Encourage LGBTQ employees to get involved to represent the company in the LGBTQ Chamber. If and where possible allow the employee to mentor small business owners. Sponsor LGBT founded startups – with funds, product/services discount or as in-kind sponsorship to help the small business grow. Add LGBT friendly procurement policies and actively seek products and services by LGBTQ owned businesses. Consider providing a workshop on how to do business with your company, the steps to becoming an approved small business vendor, if NGLCC certification is required or what other factors may help them secure a vendor agreement with you. The NGLCC has an LGBT certified business accreditation. That is great, but it is far from representing all LGBTQ business due to many factors. In your supplier diversity program certainly include NGLCC accredited LGBTQ suppliers, but be open to non-accredited ones too who as a startup not yet meet some of the accreditation requirements such as years in business with positive cash flow. Consider the merits of the business and found and advise them on how best to move forward.

List and link to all the organizations you support of LGBTQ owned business in whatever manner on your OutBüro Employer listing. So many companies do great things yet no one other than the benefiting organization has any clue. Show it. Tout it. It makes LGBT employees proud to work for you and it demonstrates to LGBT candidates that you are involved in the community and therefore likely a super fantastic place to go to work.

7. LGBT Inclusive Employee Surveys

On your periodic employee surveys allow the option for employees to anonymously identify as LGBTQ and ask specific questions regarding their experiences and feedback. Do not assume everyone will be open. Did you know that a recent study found that a whopping 29% of Americans under 30 years old identify as “heteroflexible”? So how you treat you open full out loud and proud LGBTQ employees has a much larger base than most assume and more than you will like ever truly exactly know.

8. LGBT Employer Rating/Reviews

Just like the employer reviews on Glassdoor.com, Indeed.com, Monster.com, and others, OutBüro (https://www.OutBuro.com) offers LGBTQ employees the ability to anonymously rate/review the current and recent past employers. Employers are strongly advised to claim their listing if already present or proactively add your employer listing. It is important to engage with reviews as you would on any other platform. It is advised to make all employees aware that you are participating in OutBüro. You may use the opportunity to reinforce your open and safe reporting policy while welcoming ratings/reviews on OutBüro. Such ratings/reviews can be a great source of insights as potential candidates seek information about you as an employer before applying. Check this article out: Company Reviews – Good for Companies and Their LGBTQ Employees

OutBüro logged in users may leave comments or questions on your OutBüro Employer listing or in groups. It is an opportunity to engage with potential candidates and customer. It should not be left ignored.

9. LGBTQ Competency Training

Having ongoing LGBTQ awareness training is important to fostering an inclusive and welcoming work environment. The content should be progressive and continual. If you don’t already, consider adding corporate notable figures and society historical figures to company communications regularly. It may feature persons who helped shape the company in the past or present. Feature diverse employees. The thing about LGBTQ employees is that unlike age, race, or gender, all, for the most part, are typically apparent. Being LGBTQ is not always as apparent and therefore if your culture is welcoming and the employee is okay with it, clearly state the employee’s LGBTQ identity along with all the great stuff they are doing within and for the company/organization.

This creates awareness as well as clearly demonstrates to all employees that the company/organization values the contributions of its employees including LGBTQ employees. Depending on the size of the company, I normally recommend featuring an employee once a week. Creating a video interview or video story is most ideal. For those features that are LGBTQ employees, you now have LGBTQ employer branding content. Share all via your YouTube channel. For LGBTQ features, add them to your OutBüro Employer listing too. This is a morale booster for other LGBTQ employees as well as a clear message that discrimination and/or harassment is not tolerated here. I recommend coupling this and/or other creative ideas with traditional training. It is a message however that reinforces the training provided and I consider it to be a micro lesson.

How about regular games that could become a tournament? Foster employee engagement activity where you can use an online quiz/survey tool to create a trivia knowledge game. Be creative and make it your own. Invite all staff to submit questions to be included. Heck, you might grow it into being quarter Family Feud like shows. Live Stream it to all offices, post on social media. Show what an inclusive, wicked smart team and fun culture you have. The point here is that LGBT biases, like others, are learned from a young age and deeply engrained. Creating new habits, and un-programing those deeply held biases take effort, energy, and but it can be fun and engaging.

Do you need help? We are happy to assist you and/or make recommendations to D&I consultant around the globe.

10. Offer LGBT-Friendly Benefits

For job seekers, today, inclusive benefits packages and non-discrimination clauses are some of the most important considerations when researching potential employers. In studies, it was found that having LGBTQ benefits also is important to young heterosexual job seekers. Overall job seekers want to feel they are working for an employer who is fair, socially, and environmentally responsible. Not being so can cost you in by reducing your chances of attracting top talent.

Be sure not to unintentionally exclude LGBTQ families and transgender individuals. Offer equal benefits to all employees, regardless of their sexual orientation, including parental leave, adoption leave, and time off to take care of dependants. Gendered language can cause parental benefits to unintentionally exclude LGBTQ families. Make your benefits inclusive of all employees by being conscious of what words you use in your coverage and favoring gender-neutral terms. it is the right thing to do for all employees as it is gender equality focused too. Today, in opposite-gender relationships, it is not uncommon for the male to be the child care provider while the female works.

  • Sexual orientation non-discrimination
  • Gender Identity non-discrimination
  • Domestic partner benefits
  • Transgender inclusive health benefits

11. Foster a Gender-Neutral Environment

Create a gender-neutral environment by making some simple changes such as establishing unisex toilets and using gender-neutral language, like ‘partner’ instead of husband or wife, and asking all employees to list their preferred pronouns on email sinatur blocks and employee directory listings.

12. Keep Track, Evaluate, & Improve

Celebrate your successes and monitor your progress by tracking things such as the number of employee grievances naturally with details of the type, persons involved, location, department, and such. No matter how small or outcome, track it. This could lead to identifying trends over time that need to be addressed. Of course, as in all employee training, track D&I training by course completed inclusive of LGBT competency training. If legally able track who is an out self-identified LGBTQ employee and when they publically came out. The more that comes out is a direct relation to the success of the organization in creating a safe and welcoming space. Tract ERG involvement likewise. If active participation falls or doesn’t attract employees to participate, why? Do they not feel safe? Is the ERG doing things that are attractive to employees? How does it compare with other company ERGs? Have you networked with other company LGBT ERG leaders with strong employee participation to gain insights on how to be effective?

13. Support Transgender Employees

As transgender visibility within the LGBTQ community has increased over the past few years, it has become clear that transgender people face a unique set of experiences and challenges. Learn what steps to take after an employee comes out as transgender to create a supportive and encouraging environment. Human Resource is an important player in assisting transgender employees during the complex and lengthy process of transitioning. We recommend special training from trainers who are themselves, transgender. We are happy to connect your organization with outstanding transgender coaches.

14. Post your own LGBT focused company and employee content

Increase your employer brand awareness with LGBTQ professionals. With an OutBüro Employer Listing subscription, the organization may post content directly to our blog as an author. We’d strongly recommend the content be LGBT professional life-related in some way. Perhaps it’s articles about what local, regional or national LGBT related events the organization has sponsored. Or maybe articles and videos featuring LGBT employees or customers. The article will list the authorized person/person as the author in an author bio box that will link all other past submissions posted.

If there have been negative reviews/ratings, an article might address what the organization is doing or has done to improve. It’s also a great way to feature what activities and such the organization’s LGBTQ employee resource group is doing on a monthly or quarterly basis. So many possibilities for your organization to be proactive. Some of this may be in the form of press releases. All submissions will be reviewed for approval before going live to ensure it’s appropriate for our audience and in line with the goals of OutBüro.

15. Bonus Tip – Strategic Talent Acquition: Recruiting LGBTQ Candidates

This topic has been mentioned in numerous articles here on OutBüro. It is a topic that wide and deep thus we have dedicated a full article to it. Please refer to the Strategic Talent Acquisition: Recruiting LGBTQ Candidates article for more. Will link once completed later this week.

Be sure to check out these additional resources and search OutBüro for other related topics of interest to you. Please place questions and desired article/video suggestions in the comments. We are happy to add suggested topics to our content calendar that fit our broad focus. You are also welcome to post via the activity stream, articles, and more. This is your community. Jump in.

Conclusion

OutBüro is a growing valuable tool for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer professionals for networking and as passive or active job seekers. OutBüro is here to help you to demonstrate all the great things you do to support your LGBTQ employees and attract LGBT talent as candidates to join your team.

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Emerging interest in gender and sexual diversity in vocational training

There is a recent interest in the role of gender and sexual diversity in vocational education and training. After a steadily growing interest in LGBTIQ+ equality and marketing in the last 20 years, in the last decade a number of projects started to explore how vocational education and training could integrate attention to gender and sexual diversity. This development started with a series of projects in the Netherlands, which then expanded to the European level. This year, another project starts to experiment in some less welcoming countries, like Poland, Croatia, Cyprus and Greece.

Greater Percentage of Americans Self-Identify as LGBTQ OutBuro professionals entrepreneurs gay lesbian bisexual transgender queer community

Greater Percentage of Americans Self-Identify as LGBTQ

The interesting point in the 2021 LGBTQ-focused Gallop poll is that 7.6% of respondents chose to not answer the question of how they self-identify meaning they wouldn’t even say they are heterosexual. So, 5.6% self-identify as LGBTQ and for 7.6% it is unknown. I have never known a heterosexual not comfortable with stating that. So, I personally believe a good portion of that 7.6% are LGBTQ or questioning. So the statistical number is somewhere between 5.6% and 13.2% (5.6 + 7.6). If I were to bet, the real number is in the 10-11% area.

In the 2021 LGBTQ-focused Gallop poll survey released in February, Americans who self-identify as LGBTQ have risen to an average of 5.6% compared to the last survey in 2017 where that number was 4.5%.

Of the self-identifying LGBTQ the numbers look like this:

  •  54.6% bisexual
  • 24.5% gay
  • 11.7% lesbian
  • 11.3% transgender
  • 3.3% another non-heterosexual preference

Respondents can give multiple responses when describing their sexual identity; thus, the totals exceed 100%.

Rebasing these percentages to represent their share of the U.S. adult population finds 3.1% of Americans identifying as bisexual, 1.4% as gay, 0.7% as lesbian and 0.6% as transgender.

Gen Z More Comfortable Identifying as LGBTQ

Due to progress made in society, today Gen Z are much more comfortable in being their authentic self identifying as LGBTQ. In this recent Gallop poll for those aged 18-23 about one in six (15.9%) identified as something other than heterosexual.

One of the main reasons LGBT identification has been increasing over time is that younger generations are far more likely to consider themselves to be something other than heterosexual. This includes about one in six adult members of Generation Z (those aged 18 to 23 in 2020).

LGBT identification is lower in each older generation, including 2% or less of Americans born before 1965 (aged 56 and older in 2020).

Americans’ Self-Identification as LGBT, by Generation

LGBTHeterosexualNo opinion
%%%
Generation Z (born 1997-2002)15.978.95.2
Millennials (born 1981-1996)9.182.78.1
Generation X (born 1965-1980)3.888.67.6
Baby boomers (born 1946-1964)2.091.16.9
Traditionalists (born before 1946)1.389.98.9
GALLUP, 2020

Currently, Generation Z leans heavily on the bisexual side of LGBT. This means that nearly 12% of all Gen Z adults identify as bisexual. For comparison’s sake, about half of millennials who identify as LGBT say they’re bisexual. Also, another study completed in early 2019 found that 29% of Americans from 18-30 years old who identify as heterosexual occasionally have same-gender experiences which is called “heteroflexible“.

The most interesting part of these numbers may be that they could very easily be much higher. The survey was only able to gather info from the oldest segment of Generation Z, aged 18 to 23, so pollsters are expecting the percentages to continue to rise as time goes on and people feel more comfortable to live their truth.

According to the survey, more than half of LGBT adults (54.6%) identify as bisexual. About a quarter (24.5%) say they are gay, with 11.7% identifying as lesbian and 11.3% as transgender. An additional 3.3% offered another non-heterosexual preference or term to describe their sexual orientation, such as “queer.”

Americans’ Self-Identified Sexual Orientation, by Generation

BisexualGayLesbianTransgenderOther
%%%%%
Generation Z (born 1997-2002)11.52.11.41.80.4
Millennials (born 1981-1996)5.12.00.81.20.4
Generation X (born 1965-1980)1.81.20.70.20.1
Baby boomers (born 1946-1964)0.31.20.40.20.0
Traditionalists (born before 1946)0.30.30.20.30.1
Figures represent the percentage of all adult members of each generation who have that sexual orientation
GALLUP, 2020

The pronounced generational differences raise questions about whether higher LGBT identification in younger than older Americans reflects a true shift in sexual orientation, or if it merely reflects a greater willingness of younger people to identify as LGBT. 

Study Explores LGBTQ Employees Experiences OutBuro professional online networking community gay lesbian bisexual transgender queer intersex asexual pansexual entrepreneurs

Study Explores LGBT+ Employees Experiences

New research (Feb 2021) from the CIPD has confirmed that LGBT+ employees experience higher level of work-based conflict, and almost one in five transgender workers feel psychologically unsafe at work.

The CIPD’s recent report, Inclusion at work: perspectives on LGBT+ working lives confirms that while workplace inclusivity is fundamental to good, fair work and positive employee outcomes, many organisations have been slow to make headway to support their LGBT+ workforces.

Unfortunately, LGBT+ employees are more likely to experience workplace conflict and harassment than their heterosexual, cisgender counterparts. In particular, 40% of LGB+ workers and 55% of transgender workers have experienced workplace conflict in the last 12 months, compared with 29% of heterosexual, cisgender employees. When conflicts occurred, many reported that their issues hadn’t been fully resolved. Close to half (44%) of LGB+ workers who had experienced being undermined or humiliated said this had not been resolved, and almost four in ten said this had only been partly resolved (38%). Close to a quarter (23%) of transgender workers said they had experienced discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Additionally, 16% of LGB+ workers feel psychologically unsafe in the workplace compared with heterosexual workers (10%). For transgender workers, this figure is even higher at 18%.

All of this suggests that employers’ handling of conflict and harassment towards LGBT+ workers must improve. It is further clear that employers need to develop a greater understanding of the specific experiences – and needs – of their LGBT+ workforce.

All of this news is obviously disappointing to hear, and disappointing to hear while we remain in a pandemic, where the majority of workers remain working from home, many of whom feel lonely and isolated – particularly those within the LGBT+ community.

The current status quo therefore must change, not just for the LGBT+ community but for all. There is no more an important time to do this as we seek to recover and thrive after the pandemic. Recommendations for all in this area therefore include the following:

  • Reviewing and ensuring that anti-discrimination policies and practices are fit for purpose, well understood, and carried out throughout the organisation. These should set clear expectations of what is and is not acceptable behavior, with practical examples, and provide robust guidance to managers on how to report and deal with incidences of conflict. A zero-tolerance approach to discrimination is fundamental for all employers regardless of size. Employers have legal obligations to prevent and address discrimination and should take a zero-tolerance approach to this.
  • Create visible leadership in this area, supportive and knowledgeable about the difficulties that LGBT+ workers may face at work. Reciprocal mentoring is encouraged, to enable both groups to learn from each other. Gaining true buy-in and support from senior leadership is vital for building more inclusive workplaces.
  • Provide training to enable the entire workforce to recognize where conflict exists or may exist and the value of equal opportunity, diversity, and inclusion. Understanding people’s differences, why they are important, and why they should be protected is key and will enable the creation of positive and inclusive work relationships.
  • Encourage the reporting of any and all forms of conflict and ensure that all such matters are properly and seriously investigated.
  • Offer support through the use of LGBT+, and allyship, networks. These can be used for LGBT+ workers to discuss difficult matters with other like-minded people. Appropriate training is of course necessary here, particularly for signposting purposes as network members should not act as counselors or dispute resolution experts. Such networks also allow LGBT+ workers to collectively raise important issues and suggestions to improve inclusion and diversity within the organization.
  • Leverage OutBüro’s (www.OutBuro.com) LGBTQ Employer Branding platform to share your organization’s strides and process with current and prospective employees. Utilize its employee reviews to create an open dialog while demonstrating your organization takes their feedback seriously and is striving to be a welcoming workplace where all are respected equally.

Employers are therefore encouraged, off the back of the CIPD’s report, and as prompted by LGBT History Month, to improve their understanding of challenges faced by their LGBT+ workforce, to combat all possible opportunities for conflict or prejudice in this area, and thereafter to celebrate their diverse and inclusive workforces. The fight for LGBT+ rights and equal opportunity is clearly not over yet; we all have an important role to play to ensure that everyone is treated equally and fairly.

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Understanding Gender Identity and Expression 101

Understanding gender identity and expression to support education in LGBTQ corporate equality for a welcoming workplace. In Feb 2021 we updated our model to include scales for “other” in our own continued learning evolution and striving to provide content and resources that are reflective of you and all your beautiful complexities. We hope this now is fully inclusive and we remain open to constructive feedback.

Most people when they hear – LGBTQ – they think of it is a group of individuals who are attracted to members of the same sex to some degree. Interestingly, most don’t realize that the “T” does not directly relate to a person’s sexual attraction at all. It is separate and refers to a person’s sense of gender. Inside, do they feel like a male or female or even somewhere in between the two. This is referred to as gender identity.

Before the 19th century, the terms gender and sex were interchangeable. It was believed was what you physically appeared as at birth was cut and dry. Binary. Female or male from birth in body, mind, and soul.

Around 1925, a sexologist named Magnus Hirschfeld from Germany published an article. In it, he described for the first time the difference between the sexual desire for persons of the same gender compared to a deep desire to live and/or dress as the opposite gender because it matches how you feel and view yourself.

In the 1950s the concepts and theories about gender, gender roles, and gender identity were introduced and defined in the psychological literature. Psychologists, such as Jerome Kagan and John Money, initially believed that gender identity was simply a degree a person felt feminine or masculine coupled with the ability to live openly and freely as who they are supporting a secure sense of self.

From around 1965 through 1985 researchers such as Sandra Bem, Richard Green, Harry Benjamin, and, Robert Stoller furthered the understanding of gender and gender identity. Green, Benjamin, and Stoller pioneered gender identity clinics, as well as gender-related medical and surgical treatments.

The ongoing work of these and other pioneer researchers in the field of gender identity development raised awareness that gender is not exclusively determined by assigned sex at birth but determined by a person’s sense, belief, and the ultimate expression of self.

A bit more to understand

The term transgender is an overall term for people whose gender identity, expression and/or behavior is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth. Since the 1990s, transgender has also been used to describe:

  • transsexuals
  • crossdressers
  • androgynous people
  • genderqueers
  • gender non-conforming people

Transgender men had or have female body parts; however, they may identify and/or express themselves as male. Female to male or F2M.

Transgender women had or have male body parts; however, they may identify and/or express themselves as female. Male to female or M2F.

Research shows that gender identity, in many cases, is independent of sexual orientation.

  • Androphilic are people that were born with a male body, have a female gender identity, and are attracted to men. My understanding is like this:
    • M2F Straight
    • F2M Straight.
  • Gynephilia is people that were born with a male body, have a female gender and are attracted to women. My understanding is like this:
    • M2F Lesbian
    • F2M Gay
  • Cis-Gender, is a person who feels that how they mentally identify matches their physical body.
    • Cis-male
    • Cis-female

See: List of LGBTQ+ terms with definitions

Marketors, employers, prevention specialists, and healthcare providers should be aware that beliefs impact almost all areas of a person’s life, their feeling of accepted and being welcomed.

Think about not only your own beliefs and attitudes but how can you impact your place of business, your working environment, policies, benefits. How can you make your company, business, institution more accessible and in some cases safe?

If in my attempts to simplify for the sake of understanding a very complex field I’m happy to be constructively corrected and happy to edit the content if necessary. Please add your comments below.

I’ve already written about the Surrey University study demonstrating a clear bias against persons who are perceived as LGBT in the hiring process, promotions, and salary. Added to the stress of work anyone faces, adds being verbally harassed or worse not just at work but everywhere.

At this point, it’s – Duh!. In order to understand you have to get to know.

If you work for a company if not already happening, suggest or start social gatherings to get to know others out of the work environment. Maybe host a company talent show or other activities that foster interaction embracing the differences. The biggest is connect with others and be open and willing to give everyone an opportunity to shine. Listen carefully. Do you have interests in common? Do you hear an opportunity to partner on a project to help each other and maybe others in the company or community?

OutBüro’s Gender Identity and Expression Model

The concept of gender identity and expression graphic to help explain the concepts is not new. Hower, OutBüro decided to create our own with some modifications to past models to help further clarify the concepts.

Most models to date have a scale with feminine on one end of a spectrum and masculine on the opposite. We believe that having them separately represented is more accurate was of thinking and helps to better understand.

Meet Chris – the OutBüro Gender Identity and Expression Model

In the diagram below consider the lines noting masculine, feminine, and other as each independent sliding scales from 0 to 100%. If using this as a worksheet, consider marking each scale with a pencil where you feel you are on each scale. Either right-click to download as a JPG file or click here to download a PDF version.

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Gender Identity

Gender Identity is how you, in your head, experience and define your gender, based on how much you align (or don’t align) with what you understand the options for gender to be. Common associations: personality traits, jobs, hobbies, likes, dislikes, roles, expectations

Gender Expression

Gender Expression is how you present gender (through your actions, clothing, and demeanor, to name a few), and how those presentations are viewed based on social expectations. Common associations: style, grooming, clothing, mannerisms, affect, appearance, hair, make-up

Anatomical Sex

Anatomical Sex is the physical traits you’re born with or develop that we think of as “sex characteristics,” as well as the sex you are assigned at birth. Common associations: body hair, chest, hips, shoulders, hormones, chromosomes, voice pitch

Attraction

Attraction is how you find yourself feeling drawn (or not drawn) to some other people, in sexual, romantic, and/or other ways (often categorized within gender).

What does LGBTQ mean OutBuro professional online networking community gay lesbian bisexual transgender queer intersex asexual pansexual entrepreneurs

What does LGBTQ mean?

Have you stumbled on these letters or heard someone use them and not quite sure about its meaning? LGBTQ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer.

You may also see LGBTQ+, many feel Queer is an umbrella all-inclusive all-encompassing term. Other Don,t and will add the “+” symbol to represent the full spectrum of the community.

On social media, in marketing, in texting, and generally anywhere you may see other variations. Basically here is what each letter represents and for definitions and a broader list check out our List of LGBTQ+ terms with definitions.

  • L = Lesbian
  • G = Gay and/or Genderqueer. Sometimes two G’s are presented
  • B = Bisexual
  • T = Transgender
  • Q = Queer and/or questioning sometimes a second Q is provided
  • I = Intersex
  • A = Asexual
  • P = Pansexual and/or Polygamous
  • A = a second A is for Allies and/or Aromantic. Sometimes all three A’s will be present
  • K = Kink

Here are some variations you may see:

  • LGBTQI
  • LGBTIQ
  • LGBTQAI
  • LGBTQAI+
  • LGBTI
  • GLBT
  • LGBTQIAP
  • LGBTQIAPK
  • LGGBTQQIAAAPPK

Check out these additional guides:

Guide to 72 LGBTQ+ Pride Flags

Guide to 72 LGBTQ+ Pride Flags

I will start by saying if you want a flag that represents you, great. Make it, fly it, and wear it proudly. In the below, I am providing both information and the occasional sarcastic comments as I personally find it a tad bit odd that there are so many “Pride Flags”. So in response, I had to add to the lot and therefore I created the Intersectional Pride Flag in July 2020. It truly is an aim to be inclusive. However, based on this list you can rest assured there will be many more to come with various levels of popularism. There are many fetish flags I didn’t include drawing the line somewhere at an already huge list. It also made me wonder why no one has yet created a flag for others. My curiosity and admittedly slightly sarcastic nature had to get this accomplished to reduce the rabbit hole effect. I hope you find this useful, informative, and via the comments provide your thoughts, design ideas, and comments.

This list is broken into pages in an attempt to make it digestible and allow comments on pages of topically similar designs.

1. Gilbert Baker Pride Flag – The Original

In 1977, gay politician Harvey Milks tasked veteran Gilbert Baker to come up with a Pride flag. Milk said he felt that queer people “needed something that was positive, that celebrated our love.” Inspired by Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow,” each color has symbolism: Hot pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for magic/art, indigo for serenity, and violet for spirit. Gilbert Baker (June 2, 1951 – March 31, 2017) was an American artist, gay rights activist, and designer of the rainbow flag (1978), a worldwide symbol of LGBTQ pride. His flag became widely associated with LGBT rights causes, a symbol of gay pride that has become ubiquitous in the decades since its debut. California state senator Scott Wiener said Baker “helped define the modern LGBT movement

gilbert-baker-lgbtq-pride-flag

2. LGBTQ Pride Flag – 1978-1999

Harvey Milk was assassinated in 1978, and demand for the flag increased as people wanted to show their support. Apparently, Baker had trouble getting the pink color, so the flag began selling with seven colors instead. He also replaced the teal with the second shade of purple on the lavender side.

Gilbert Baker lgbtq pride flag adapted version-with-hot-pink-removed-due-to-fabric-unavailability professional entrepreneurs gay lesbian trans queer bisexual

3. LGBTQ+ Pride Flag – Today’s Common

This is probably the flag you’ll see most often: Six colors, apparently easier to produce than the odd-numbered seven. The rainbow flag can operate as a general flag for the LGBTQ+ community, but according to some, it’s not necessarily all-inclusive as also apparent with this huge list of pride flags of all sorts. Many of the following flags (intersex, asexual, non-binary, etc.) embody different identities that exist within Q (queer) and/or outside this acronym while others represent fetishes.

main traditional lgbtq pride flag gay lesbian transgender trans queer bisexual asexual pansexual intersex professional entrepreneur online community outburo

4. Philadelphia People of Color-Inclusive Flag

Philadelphia added brown and black at the top of their flag in 2017 to spotlight the importance of including queer people of color in the LGBTQ+ community. This caused some debate within LGBTQ+ circles. LGBTQ+ persons span all races. Are the plight and struggles different, sure yet even in the white/caucasian LGBTQ community, there are struggles. The original rainbow flag didn’t exclude persons of color. Aren’t all persons important? Adding race in an exclusionary manner puts one above the other. Where are the white and salmon flesh tone stripes if it aims to be inclusive? Is representation good? Sure. Is increased visibility good? Sure. I personally view all people as shades of brown, from a pale tan to a dark brown. Artistically, having the colors black and brown on top just visually doesn’t work. Putting race literally above all else in the LGBTQ community to me personally doesn’t work. I get the idea and appreciate the concept. But artistically the execution flounders. Again, this and the following drove me to toss my attempt into the ring.

Philadelphia People of Color-Inclusive Flag lgbtq gay lesbian trans queer transgender bisexual asexual intersex pansexual professionals entrepreneurs online networking community outburo

5. Progress Pride Flag

This flag takes inclusion even further, thanks to queer, nonbinary artist Daniel Quasar (xe/xem).

Graphic designer Daniel Quasar has added a five-colored chevron to the LGBT Rainbow Flag to place a greater emphasis on “inclusion and progression”.

Quasar‘s Progress Pride Flag adds five arrow-shaped lines to the six-coloured Rainbow Flag, which is widely recognised as the symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities.

The flag includes black and brown stripes to represent marginalized LGBT communities of color, along with the colors pink, light blue, and white, which are used on the Transgender Pride Flag.

Overall I get and appreciate this design over the Phillidelphia Color-Inclusive Flag. I appreciate having the Trans flag incorporated. But, alas exactly how did the common 6 colors of the rainbow exclude anyone? That it didn’t include Charchruce and Periwinkle that to you represents something. Ok. So, this includes the Trans community. Now, what about asexuals, intersex, pansexual, demisexuals, how are bisexuals, leather, twinks, bears, and all others represent?

By adding and thus complicating a simple already nonexclusionary symbol the attempts at being inclusive is actually exclusionary. Again. If you want a flag, great. Create it and fly it proudly. If that doesn’t represent me I am personally OK with that. But, if stating it is inclusive, be apparently fully inclusive. I like the name of this, Progress Flag. Its progress led to me creating the Intersectional Flag.

progress -Inclusive Flag lgbtq gay lesbian trans queer transgender bisexual asexual intersex pansexual professionals entrepreneurs online networking community outburo

6. Intersectional Pride Flag

Created by LGBTQ social entrepreneur, founder of OutBüro – the LGBTQ Professional and Entrepreneur Community, and artist Dennis Velco in July 2020 in an attempt to represent the full LGBQ spectrum in an inclusive manner building upon the tradition, progress, and color inclusive designs. At the foundation and widest encircling colors are those that represent persons of color. White on the top while black on the foundation bottom as in the light spectrum all colors in between. Artistically black is a weighted, heavy color and in a simple design makes sense to represent the grounding base. The circle is a universal symbol with extensive meaning. It represents the notions of totality, wholeness, original perfection, the self, the infinite, eternity, timelessness, all cyclic movement, and a higher power. In the Intersectional Pride Flag, transparent circles of color overlap the strips and other circles creating structure and numerous additional shades of color. At the center is a yellow circle often referenced in other Pride Flag as representing gender and non-gender. It sits over Pink and Blue interlocking circles that are encompassed and intertwined with magenta, a pinkish purple all together harkening to complexities and spectrums of gender identity and expressions with complementary color flanking on either side balancing the composition that is you.

Notice how then black and white circles break the border boundaries and overlap into the other color strips. Just as LGBTQ+ persons break boundaries and strive to reach and grow beyond imposed borders.

Due to the design as noted many ranges of colors are present. I specifically left out additional symbols other than the stripe and the circle. I left current and future specific iconography to others to serve unique subcultures and the fetish community.

Critics and comments welcomed. The design needs some fine touch adjustment as it was created in a PowerPoint-like software without fine graphic editing ability.

OutBuro Intersectional Pride Flag by Dennis Velco Created July 2020 lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneur

7. Lesbian Labrys Flag

This flag isn’t widely used—and part of the reason may be that the flag was thoughtfully designed in 1999 by a gay man, Sean Campbell. The design involves a labrys, a type of double-headed axe, superimposed on the inverted black triangle, set against a violet background. Among its functions, the labrys was associated as a weapon used by the Amazons of mythology. In the 1970s it was adopted as a symbol of empowerment by the lesbian feminist community. Women considered asocial by the Third Reich because they did not conform to the Nazi ideal of a woman, which included homosexual females, were condemned to concentration camps and wore an inverted black triangle badge to identify them. Some lesbians reclaimed this symbol as gay men reclaimed the pink triangle (many lesbians also reclaimed the pink triangle although lesbians were not included in Paragraph 175 of the German criminal code). The color violet became associated with lesbians via the poetry of Sappho.

lesbian labrys pride flag lgbtq gay trans queer bisexual transgender professionals business owners entrepreneursonline networking community outburo

8. Lipstick Lesbian Pride Flag

The Lipstick Lesbian Pride Flag represents lesbians with a ‘more feminine gender expression’.

The original version had a lipstick kiss symbol in the top right corner but the flag is also used without the kiss.

Some people have presented this flag as an alternative flag for the whole lesbian community. However, others have rejected this idea, arguing that the red and pink shades do not represent butch women.

Lipstick Lesbian Pride Flag-lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneurs outburo

9. Femme Lesbian Flag

Interestingly, this flag has a controversial element—it used to be called the “lipstick lesbian” flag and had a pair of lips on the upper left corner. It was designed by Natalie McCray in 2010 to celebrate lesbian femmes but isn’t necessarily loved for its lack of inclusivity.

lesbian pride flag femme lgbtq professional community networking groups online rate your empoyer ratings company reviews outburo

10. Butch Lesbian Flag

The Butch Lesbian Flag is designed to represent lesbians with a more ‘masculine’ or ‘dominant’ personality, style, or identity.

It’s a redesign of the original rainbow flag and the pink lesbian flag which is associated with more ‘femme’ lipstick lesbians (see below). The colour scheme of blues, purple, grey and white was apparently just designed as a ‘butch makeover’ of the flag.

Butch Lesbian flag-lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneurs outburo

11. Lesbian Pride Flag

The Lesbian Community Pride Flag, or just Lesbian Pride Flag, was inspired by the earlier Lipstick Lesbian Pride Flag (see below).

This design, introduced on social media in 2018, took the pink and red colors from the earlier flag and added a dark orange bar to indicate gender nonconformity. 

Lesbian Pride Flag-lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneurs outburo

12. Lesbian Twink Flag

lesbian twink Pride Flag lgbtq gay lesbian transgender queer bisexual trans asexual intersex pansexual professional entrepreneurs online networking community outburo

The Gay Men Pride Flags

Not to be left out of the pride flag creation, the following is a series of developments representing gay Men via pride flags. Interesting if you search Lesbian Flag, Transgender Flag and others, the search result will instantly show those unique flags. However, if you search Gay Flag most results will be the overall LGBTQ Pride flags. You have to be more specific and search, “gay man pride flag”. Personally, I have never seen any of these flags periods to my research for this article.

13. GAY Male Pride Flag 1

The flag consists of shades of blue and azure, symbolizes the attraction of men to each other and the diversity of the gay community itself. Blue and azure shades for the gay flag were chosen on the basis that these colors are used for the symbolic image of men and homosexual men in particular.

The Gay Men Pride Flag 1 lgbtq gay lesbian transgender queer bisexual trans asexual intersex pansexual professional entrepreneurs online networking community outburo

14. GAY Male Pride Flag 2

As if many shades of blue weren’t clear enough, another version adds the double male symbol to drive the message home.

The Gay Men Pride Flag 4 lgbtq gay lesbian transgender queer bisexual trans asexual intersex pansexual professional entrepreneurs online networking community outburo

15. GAY Male Pride Flag 3

After the introduction of the above, some took offense that only shades of blue where used citing the stereotypical color associated with males so another version was created adding shades of green to teals.

The Gay Men Pride Flag-lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneurs outburo

16. GAY Male Pride Flag 4

Yet another simplied version reduced the number of stripes.

The Gay Men Pride Flag 3 lgbtq gay lesbian transgender queer bisexual trans asexual intersex pansexual professional entrepreneurs online networking community outburo

17. Gay Twink Flag

gay twink Pride Flag lgbtq gay lesbian transgender queer bisexual trans asexual intersex pansexual professional entrepreneurs online networking community outburo

18. Bisexual Flag

In 1998, Michael Page wanted to spotlight bisexual people within the LGBTQ+ community. Overlapping over the stereotypical colors for boys (blue) and girls (pink) is lavender—attraction to both sexes. Bisexuality doesn’t necessarily JUST mean an attraction to two sexes, and there are other flags to represent attraction to more than one gender (as you’ll see).

bisexual pride flag lgbtq gay lesbian trans queer tansgender asexual intersex pansexual professionals entrepreneursonline networking community outburo

19. Transgender Pride Flag

Those who are transitioning or have neutral/no gender are also included in the white. Trans woman Monica Helms designed this in 1999. The blue and pink represent boys and girls, and no matter which way you hold it, the flag is always right-side up.

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Transgender Bisexual Pride Flags

Below are three versions of a transgender bisexual pride flag.

20. Transgender Bisexual Pride Flag 1

transgender bisexual pride flag 3 lgbtq professional online community groups rate your employer rating company reviews entrepreneurs business owners networking outburo

21. Transgender Bisexual Pride Flag 2

transgender bisexual pride flag 2 lgbtq professional online community groups rate your employer rating company reviews entrepreneurs business owners networking outburo

22. Transgender Bisexual Pride Flag 3

transgender bisexual pride flag 3 lgbtq professional online community groups rate your employer rating company reviews entrepreneurs business owners networking outburo

23. Intersex Flag

Intersex International Australia designed this flag in 2013 with non-gendered colors “that celebrate living outside the binary.” Intersex (variation in sex characteristics) is also represented in the transgender flag (see next slide).

intersex pride flag lgbtq online professional networking community outburo groups entrepreneurs mentors

24. Agender Flag

Designer Salem X or “Ska” created a reversible flag—much like the transgender flag—to represent the rejection of gender. Green is nonbinary, and black and white are absence of gender.

agender-flag-lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneurs outburo

25. Genderfluid/Genderflexible Flag

This flag was designed to embody all that genderfluidity can contain (since their gender can vary over time): Pink for femininity, blue for masculinity, white for no gender, black for all genders, and purple for the combination between masculine and feminine. JJ Poole created the flag in 2012.

Genderfluid Genderflexible Flag pride flag lgbtq professional community groups online networking rate employers ratings company reviews outburo

26. Genderqueer Flag

Marilyn Roxie designed the genderqueer flag to represent those identifying outside the gender binary: lavender is androgeny, white is agender, and green is nonbinary. This is also known as the “nonbinary” flag.

genderqueer nonbinary pride flag lgbtq professional groups networking community online employer ratings company reviews outburo

27. Nonbinary Flag

To add to the genderqueer flag’s representation, 17-year-old Kye Rowan created the nonbinary flag in 2014 for gender existing outside the binary (symbolized by the yellow). White is all genders, black is no gender, and purple is a mix of genders.

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28. Androgynous Pride Flag

Androgynous people are a mix of both male and female. The blue stripe represents masculinity and the pink femininity. The grey area represents that the metaphorical ‘grey area’ between these two genders.

Of course, androgynous people don’t necessarily feel exactly equally male and female – you can be slightly more masculine or feminine. But the flag forms an ‘equals’ sign to signify gender equality.

Androgynous Pride Flag-lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneurs outburo

29. Bigender Pride Flag

If you are bigender you feel simultaneous both male and female. Or you may swap between those roles or take the best of both.

Unsurprisingly, the pinks and blues represent femininity and masculinity respectively. The purple stripes are for those genders combined.

Lastly, the white stripe is taken from the center of the Trans Pride Flag (see below). In this case, white stands for non-binary identities and shifting from one gender to another. 

Bigender Pride Flag-lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneurs outburo

30. Genderflux Pride Flag

Genderflux people feel different levels of gender identity over time. So they may fluctuate between feeling very female and agendered.

Notably, it is different to genderfuidity. Genderfluid tends to be a variation in the gender they feel (they may vary between male and female). Whereas a genderflux person (in this case a boyflux) would vary between feeling gendered (male) and agender or somewhere in between.

The dark pink stands for female and the lighter pink for demigirl. Similarly, the darker blue for males and a lighter blue for demiboy. The grey stripe represents agender and the yellow, nonbinary.

Genderflux Pride Flag-lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneurs outburo

31. Trigender Pride Flag

As the name implies, trigender people experience exactly three genders. They may feel all three at once or vary between them.

The flag’s meaning is simple. Pink stands for feminine genders, blue for masculine and green represents the range of non-binary genders.

Trigender Pride Flag-lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneurs outburo

Demigender Pride Flags

Demigender literally means ‘half gender’ but practically is an umbrella term for people who are nonbinary but have a partial connection to a certain gender.

32. Demigender Pride Flag – Neutral

The grey, yellow and white striped Demigender Pride Flag is the most common used for them.

Demigender Pride Flag-lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneurs outburo

33. Demigender Pride Flag – Masculine

But there is also this flag for the partly male ‘demiboys’.

Demigender demiboys Pride Flag-lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneurs outburo

34. Demigender Pride Flag – Femme

And this flag for the partly female ‘demigirls’.

Demigender demigirls Pride Flag-lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneurs outburo

35. Neutrois Pride Flag

Neutrois people typically identify as having no or neutral gender. In some cases they may want to reduce the physical signs of their sex so they appear more gender neutral.

White represents being neutral, unidentified, or questioning gender.

Dark chartreuse green is the ‘opposite’ of lavender, a mix of pink and blue. So this stripe symbolises being not male or female or a mix of those.

Black is for being agender or genderless.

Neutrois Pride Flag-lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneurs outburo

36. Gender Questioning Pride Flag

Anyone who is questioning whether they are really cisgender may identify as gender questioning.

And an artist named Roswell created this flag in 2017 to represent them.

It takes colors from other gender flags with the pink and blue spectrums representing levels of femininity and masculinity. Meanwhile, the grey in the middle symbolizes uncertainty and seeking answers.

Gender Questioning Pride Flag-lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneurs outburo

37. Two-Spirit Pride Flag

Two-Spirit is a modern, pan-Indian term to describe people who have been part of Native American culture for countless generations.

Simply, Two-Spirit people have both a male and female spirit within them and see life through the eyes of both genders. Many indigenous communities not only accepted these two-spirit, or third-gender, people but gave them a ceremonial role in their culture.

Two-Spirit is often confused by outsiders with being ‘gay Indian’ or ‘LGBT+ Native American’. But the term was created to preserve the cultural history of these particular LGBT+ Native Americans, rather than for the whole community.

The flag’s simple design combines the traditional rainbow flag with a double feather.

Two-Spirit Pride Flag-lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneurs outburo

38. Hijra Pride Flag

Hijra share both a long culture and a gender identity. Across South Asia, hijra live together in small groups, guided by a guru. Hijras include trans women, intersex and other gender non-conforming people.

Hindu and Muslim religions recognize them but also ostracize them. However India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh offer ‘third gender’ – neither male or female – passports to hijras.

The flag combines both gender and spiritual symbolism. So: ‘Pink and blue are for those of us [hijras] who identify with binary genders as trans people, while the white is for those of us who are nonbinary, the red represents the divinity we were blessed with by [Hindu god] Rama.’

Hijra Pride Flag-lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneurs outburo

39. Maverique Pride Flag

Maveriques have a gender – and feel they have a gender – but it is completely separate from male or female.

The designer used yellow because it is a primary color. Therefore, it is completely separate from other colors (like pink or blue) just as maverique is separate from male and female identities.

The white stripe represents independence from the gender binary. White is not on the spectrum of colors so is a blank slate on which maveriques put their own identity.

Finally, orange stands for the burning inner conviction that a maverique feels about their gender. It is perceived as an unorthodox color, again reflecting maverique identity.

Maverique Pride Flag-lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneurs outburo

40. Pangender Pride Flag

Pangender people typically embrace all genders or a large number of genders. They may be genderfluid too, in which case they are fluid between many genders over a period of time.

The colors on the flag are deliberately bright to represent the abundance of genders.

White is used as it is a combination of all colors, and therefore all genders. Yellow signifies genders that are not related to female and male. Meanwhile red shows the transition to masculine and feminine genders. And violet-pink combines male and female.

Pangender Pride Flag-lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneurs outburo

41. Pocket Gender Pride Flag

One of the more interesting parts of gender discovery is the little world of pocket genders. Technically these are a range of gender identities that are only held by one or a few people.

Often pocket gender discussion groups allow people to discuss or discover different, radical or even eccentric ways of experiencing a gender.

Alex Stowe created the pocket gender flag.

Firstly the colours. Pink and blue represent feminity and masculinity. Purple is a mix of both traditional genders but also genderlessness. Likewise black represents either a mix of genders or a lack of gender. Orange stands for Maverique, a specific non-binary identity (see above).

In this case, Stowe specifically chose triangles rather than stripes used in other Pride flags. They wanted to show the levels of the genders may vary.

Pocket Gender Pride Flag-lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneurs outburo

42. Pansexual Flag

This flag, for example, represents pansexuality’s interest in all genders: Pink for women, blue for men, yellow for “nonbinary and gender-nonconforming people.” It was created in 2010 to distinguish pansexuality from bisexuality.

If you can be attracted to people regardless of their gender, you are pansexual or omnisexual. You may think of yourself as gender-blind. Some pansexuals feel they could be attracted to a humanoid alien.

But more practically level, it’s not letting someone’s gender define who you fancy. Of course, many bisexuals also feel they are attracted to people who are not male or female but another gender. But pansexuals make this more explicit.

The Pansexual Pride Flag emerged on the internet around 2010 and has become popular since.

It’s based on a similar design to the bisexual flag with three horizontal stripes. Unsurprisingly pink represents attraction to women, blue to men and yellow to people who are neither male nor female.

pansexual pride flag lgbtq gay lesbian trangender queer trans asexual intersex professional entrepreneursonline networking community outburo

43. Asexual Flag

In 2010, the Asexual Visibility and Education Network stated that they wanted to “have a symbol that belongs to all of us.” The flag is inspired by their logo; Black represents asexuality, gray for graysexuals (between sexual and asexual), and demisexual (sexual attraction following emotional connection). Purple represents the community. A demisexual flag also exists with similar colors in a different configuration.

Asexual Demisexual pride flag lgbtq gay lesbian transgender queer trans pansexual intersex professional entrepreneurs online networking community outburo

44. Polysexual Flag

Polysexual (attracted to multiple but not all genders, unlike pansexual) is still similar to the pansexual flag, with green representing non-conforming genders and pink and blue female and male, respectively. Polysexuality can sometimes be expressed as an attraction to masculinity/femininity, not gender. The flag was created on Tumblr in 2012.

polysexual-flag-lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneurs outburo

45. Aromantic Flag

In a similar color scheme, the green in the aromantic flag represents those living without romantic attraction or different romantic attraction. Gray and black are meant to represent all aromantic sexualities.

Aromantic-flag-lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneurs outburo

46. Demisexual Pride Flag

Demisexuals aren’t totally asexual. They may be sexually attracted to someone, but once they’ve fallen in love.

The Demisexual Pride Flag uses the same colors as the asexual flag. So black represents asexuality, white for non-asexual friends and partners, purple for the community, and grey for grey-asexuality.

Demisexual Pride Flag-lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneurs outburo

47. Graysexual Pride Flag

Graysexuals feel somewhere between asexual (not interested in sex) and sexual (interested in sex). This is a deliberately vague term, for people who don’t want to be defined too narrowly.

The flag, also known as the Gray-A or Gray-ace Flag uses similar colors to the asexual and demisexual flags. Just like them, purple means community, grey for graysexuality and white for non-asexual friends and partners.

Graysexual Pride Flag-lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneurs outburo

48. Omnisexual Pride Flag

Omnisexuality is literally attraction to people of all genders. It’s slightly different to pansexuality which is attraction to people regardless of their gender. But, of course, individuals may be both omnisexual and pansexual.

The pink shades, unsurprisingly, mean attraction to feminine people and the blue attraction to masculine people. In the center, the black stripe stands for other genders.

Omnisexual Pride Flag-lgbtq pride professional online community groups rate your emploer rating company reviews gay lesbian queer trans entrepreneurs outburo

49. Polyamory Flag

Just as the symbol pi goes on indefinitely after the decimal, there are infinite partners available to those who identify as polyamorous. Gold represents emotional connection, not just sexual love. A modified version was created in 2017 with infinity hearts instead of the pi symbol.

polyamory pride flag lgbtq professionals business owners employees entrepreneursonline networking community outburo

50. Bear Brotherhood Flag

Craig Byrnes and Paul Witzkoske in 1995 made the “bear flag” for “a subculture of masculine-presenting gay, bisexual and trans men who embrace facial and body hair and may have larger bodies.” Each stripe represents the different colors of bears.

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51. Leather, Latex, & BDSM Flag

There’s also debate over this flag, centered around whether kinks exist within or outside of the LGBTQ+ community. But the most widely celebrated of Tony DeBlase’s achievements in the world of leather is and probably always will be the Leather Pride Flag which he presented to the world as a “proposed design idea” on May 28, 1989, at International Mr. Leather. As the creator of the flag, he was often asked to explain the colors and design, but consistently refused to do so, insisting that each person could do that for himself. The design was immediately embraced and began appearing in parades within a month of its introduction, and turned up in shops as a bumper sticker barely two months later. Deconstructions and re-compositions of the flag’s familiar black, blue and white stripes with a red accent-originally a heart-are common, but the design itself was accepted worldwide as introduced. More info here.

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52. Female Leather, BDSM flag

Te flags can be horizontal or at an angle. That is purely artistic with no addition meaning. The blue of Leather Pride is substituted with pink to represent female leather-lovers. Designed by Sheryl Dee for the Ms San Diego Leather Contest in November 2003.

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53. Boy-Boi Pride Flag

The Boy-Boi Pride Flag was created and designed by boy Keith and debuted at Mid-Atlantic Leather in 1999. The original flag now hangs in the Leather Archives and Museum in Chicago, IL.

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54. Fetish Pride Flag

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55. Switch Pride Flag

Some members of the leather and BDSM communities enjoy taking both dominant and passive roles, switching from one to the other. This is represented by the 2 arrows. I can find no reference to it before 2009. More information into its symbolism, history, etc. can be found here: http://c4bl3fl4m3.dreamwidth.org/16143.html

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56. Fat Fetish Pride Flag

Designed to represent someone who is attracted to persons of obease weight.

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57. Military and Uniform Fetish Flag

The Military Fetish Flag has been floating around on the web for sometime; sadly Its creator is unknown. The flag appears here for the community and not for any commercial use.

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58. BDSM Pride Flag

Primarily seen in european counties, the BDSM Rights Flag
is intended to represent the belief that people whose sexuality or relationship preferences include Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, or Sadism and Masochism (“BDSM”) deserve the same human rights as everyone else, and should not be discriminated against for pursuing BDSM with consenting adults.

The flag is inspired by the Leather Pride Flag and Quagmyr’s BDSM Emblem, but is specifically intended to represent the concept of BDSM Rights and to be without the other symbols’ restrictions against commercial use. It’s designed to be recognizable by people familiar with either the Leather Pride Flag or BDSM Triskelion (or Triskele) as “something to do with BDSM”; and to be distinctive whether reproduced in full color, or in black and white (or another pair of colors). For more information: http://www.bdsmrights.com/

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59. Owner Pride Flag

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60. Master/Slave Pride Flag

The “Master/slave and Dom/sub Flag” was unveiled at the Master/slave Conference in DC in July 2005 by Master Tallen and Slave Andrew. For more information, please visit their website: http://www.masterslaveflag.com/html/home.html.

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61. Demisexual BDSM Pride Flag

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62. Bootblack Pride Flag

After a two year debate within the community, on July 4th, 2005 Jesse ‘Spanky’ Penley came up with a design that would eventually become the accepted Boot Black Pride Flag. … The large red heart positioned behind the boot signifies the heart that the bootblack puts behind his or her boots. A Bootblack is someone who tends to boots such as shining.

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63. Puppy Pride Flag

This is a flag that represents a part of the community into Pet Play. It is semi-derivative of the leather flag, but on an angle, and with a red-bone in the middle. The White stripe is slightly bigger to represent the broadness of the community, the bone represents the unconditional, non-judgmental heart of the puppy.

Created in 2011 by Pup Flip Gray (LeatherPup) for the Tampa Leather Club, the Tampa Bay Leather Sir & Leather boy Contest, The Saint Petersburg Pride Parade and the Tampa Bay Leather n Fetish Pride Event.

The Puppy Pride Flag has the same number of stripes as the Leather Pride Flag. The stripes are set on a 30 degree diagonal reminiscent of the boy flag to indicate a new direction. The white stripe is wider than the other stripes to represent the broadness of the puppy movement. The blood red bone in the center of the flag indicates the unconditional, non-judgmental heart of the puppy.

For more information: http://www.leatherpups.com/z

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64. Foot Fetish Pride Flag

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65. Rubber Pride Flag

Members of the rubber/latex fetish community have a flag to express their preferences and passion. Peter Tolos and Scott Moats created it in 1995 and say that black represents “our lust for the look and feel for shiny black rubber,” red “our blood passion for rubber and rubbermen,” and yellow “our drive for intense rubber play and fantasies.” Also, there’s a kink in it—which totally makes sense, actually.

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66. Pony Flag

Another fetish flag, the pony play flag was designed in 2007 by Carrie P., and includes black to express unity with the larger leather community.

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67. Watersports Fetish Pride Flag

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68. Drag or Feather Pride Flag

The Feather Pride Flag is a symbol for the drag community. Artist Sean Campbell created it in 1999.

The phoenix represents the rebirth of the LGBT+ community. Meanwhile, as a mythical firebird it also stands for the ‘fires of passion’ the drag community had in the early days of HIV [and] AIDS epidemic when drag artists were key fundraisers.

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69. Drag Pride Flag

The alternative drag flag debuted much later in 2016. It was the result of a worldwide competition run by Austin International Drag Foundation to symbolize pride among drag queens and drag kings.

The flag’s designer Veranda L’Ni set out the meaning as follows:

Purple represents a shared passion for drag. White stands for ‘the blank slate that is our bodies and face and that we all change to create the characters that we become’. Blue symbolises both self expression and loyalty.

Finally, the crown is for leadership in the LGBT+ community and the stars for the many forms of drag.

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70. Straight Ally Flag

This is a combination of different symbols—the straight flag is black and white stripes, the traditional pride flag is a rainbow—and the combination is meant to show allyship for the LGBTQ+ community

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71. Straight Pride Flag

The simple black and white stripe version, a mockery and opposite of Gilbert Baker’s rainbow design, is the most common version. Alternatives are similar, with shades of grey, black and white.

The Ally Flag (see above) is, of course, the LGBT+ supportive antidote to this from straight, cisgender people.

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Scott Ballina: Diversity and Inclusion in Practice

In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with Scott Ballina, Senior Director, Diversity, Belonging & Giving for a global technology company.

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Scott learned the value of diversity while serving in the US Navy as an officer leading a diverse group of sailors from all walks of life. It was also in this role where he experienced living double life hiding his sexual orientation through avoidance, double-speak, and living if needed to keep his identity a secret. While working as a technology consultant at Deloitte, Scott started working on diversity and inclusion in a part-time capacity. His passion for the work and its impact grew and he moved into the role full-time as soon as he was able.

The role of diversity and inclusion can be challenging since it is dealing with all employees who have their conscience and unconscious biases. Scott shares how in his current company they wanted to provide all employees the ability to self-identify their sexual orientation and gender identity. He explains that he had to partner closely with the legal team to assess each country’s laws where they operate. That process took just over a year to complete. Having this data will allow him an analyze promotions, attrition, how engaged the employees are and how their sexual orientation and gender identity may be impacting their experience and allow the company to have metrics around their efforts to improve the culture.

Towards improving the culture, Scott and the company worked on having out gay employees who are in leadership positions. When employees see persons in leadership who they identify with it provides strength to all employees. Studies have demonstrated that when there is more diversity in leadership, it fosters a culture of support for all.

Scott offers advice for organizations starting on their path to creating an inclusive work culture including reaching out to him. To connect with Scott find him on OutBüro here.
https://outburo.com/profile/sballina/

Join me and Bruce on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com

Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco. https://outburo.com/profile/dennisvelco/

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Ashley Brundage: Empowering Differences Author and Transgender Activist

In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with Ashley Brundage, author, transgender activist, and VP of Diversity and Inclusion for a national financial institution.

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We’d love your text comments at the bottom of each show episode page asking questions of me, our guests, and interacting with other commenters.

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Ashely’s journey is remarkable and inspiring. When faced with homelessness and a family of four counting on her she was pretransition trying to find a job. Frustrated with seeking employment while presenting as male not being true to herself, one day she said enough. From that point forward with her family’s support she started the job search for a new career being authentically Ashley. During that period she realized the additional struggles of seeking a job as a transgender person but leaned into it educating the potential employers on how she could be a bridge to the LGTBQ market.

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After landing a part-time bank teller position she leveraged transgender conferences to prospect customers. She quickly became one of the top producing banking agents in the entire company. We chat about the burden of being an out transgender person working in the public sphere and how to leverage the 10 steps to empowering difference to grow professionally. Additionally how she created relationships with peers and mentors within the company to coach her. Ashley understands mentorship well, she says, “mentorship is a two-way street. Both should be getting something out of it”. I couldn’t agree more.

In Ashely’s new book, Empowering Differences, she has outlined her 10 steps to empowering differences starting with empowering yourself with confidence and knowledge. Further, she states that the book is well suited for persons in a sales role. After all, sales are about relationships.

Connect with Ashley find her on OutBüro here. https://outburo.com/profile/ashleytbrundage/

Join me and Ashley on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com

Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco. https://outburo.com/profile/dennisvelco/

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