I Deserve to be Honored: How to Identify LGBT-Friendly Workplaces

Written by Camelle Gregoire

Graphic Design by Mary Johnson

Woman in Pride shirt


How can you tell if you will be honored at a job? What does it mean to have a position where you are honored? Isn’t work only supposed to be that place you go to every day until you retire? No, actually. Everyone needs money to survive, but you can choose where that money comes from. If a potential workplace won’t honor you, why work there? Wouldn’t you prefer to work somewhere where they share your values? A place where you feel safe being your authentic self? An LGBT-friendly workplace where you don’t have to hide your identity? A company hires you, but you also hire that company. Not literally, of course, but metaphorically. You can learn more about your worth as a worker here. This Pride Month, we’d like to celebrate with this idea: LGBTQ+ Work Where you are Honored.

Do I Really Need to Work Where I am Honored?

Sure, this blog could come off as self-indulgent or privileged at first glance. We live in a capitalist society, and that means you need capital. We get it. “How can I care about company culture when I’m just trying to survive?” This applies to more than just LGBTQ inclusion. Underrepresented groups of all kinds think that they need to choose between survival and finding companies with an inclusive culture where they can feel supported. Some LGBTQ people choose job security over their authentic selves. Unfortunately, we still need to work for LGBTQ equality. LGBT people looking for a new job should find a workplace with inclusive policies because workplaces without non-discrimination policies need to understand that their jobs are less alluring.

How Can You Tell That a Workplace Will Honor You?

You might be wondering why we brought this topic up specifically for Pride. Unfortunately, many members of the LGBTQIA+ community are not honored where they work. A LinkedIn study found that 1 in 4 participants kept their identities a secret at work out of fear. One-fourth also said that they had left a position because they felt unaccepted. Some participants reported blatant discrimination in their workplace. Everyone deserves to work where they are honored. Unfortunately, that can be harder for members of the LGBTQIA+ community. So how can you tell when a company will treat you right?

Here are some signs that a company is inclusive and will treat you right:

  • They celebrate Pride Month all year, not just in June.

  • They are listed/part of an inclusive organization

  • They offer inclusive benefits.

  • They ask for your pronouns.

A Company that Doesn’t Ask for Pronouns Probably isn’t Pro-You.

A simple yet important thing to consider is how a company treats pronouns. Learning a person’s pronouns is essential to treating them with respect. This doesn’t only apply to trans or gender non-conforming folks. If you are applying to a company and they fail to ask for your pronouns or offer their own, try bringing it up yourself. If you ask for their pronouns and they respond negatively, then it’s time to get out of there. No paycheck is worth working with someone who jokes about “identifying as an attack helicopter.” You can find a workplace that treats you with dignity. A company with employees who disregard pronouns doesn’t deserve you or your talent.

Pride all the Time

We all know that June is the month for the queer community to celebrate diverse identities. It’s also the time for soulless corporations to shill out rainbow-colored merch for that sweet, gay money. A company participating in Pride Month doesn’t mean they are allies. Check for pride content outside of Pride Month when applying for a job. Is their pro-LGBTQIA+ stance one they only take every June, or is their support year-round?  A great way to find out is by checking a company’s affiliation with specific organizations.

They Have an Employee Resource Group

One marker of a safe workplace is the presence of an Employee Resource Group. An Employee Resource Group is a voluntary organization led by workers that focuses on ensuring the workplace’s diversity and inclusion come first. These employee resource groups were originally created by African-American workers but now have expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity under their umbrella. An organization with an Employee Resource Group is a much safer job for those in the LGBTQ community. When interviewing for a job, ask if they have an Employee Resource Group. If they don’t, you can always start one on your own!

Great Tools to Gauge Support

To find a company that will value you, you’re going to need to do some research. But where do you even start? Luckily for you, we found some helpful resources that can help you determine if a company is for you. Keep in mind that all companies have individual employees with their own beliefs. These tools can help determine if a company has an inclusive mindset, but you will still need to look out for bigoted individuals. There are, unfortunately, no tools for that, but companies that support diversity and inclusion are more likely to act if there are reports of homophobia or transphobia.

The LGBT Chamber of Commerce:

The national Chamber of Commerce’s site can be found here, but every state has its own Chamber of Commerce, so you should find your state’s website. Businesses that are a part of the chamber of commerce donate money to the organization. This money is then used to elevate LGBTQIA+ businesses. By being a member of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce, employers are signaling that they support the community and are willing to put their money where their mouths are. They are actively working for LGBTQ equality, so you can be more confident that they will have workplace equality.

The Business Coalition for the Equality Act:

Members of this coalition are working towards equality for all LGBTQIA+ employees. They are advocating for and trying to pass The Equality Act into federal legislation. If passed, the Equality Act would ensure that members of the LGBTQIA+ would receive the same protections as other marginalized groups under federal law. Companies that fight for equal rights are much more likely to have safe workplaces. They’ve already demonstrated a dedication to diversity and inclusion with this push for LGBT equality. Here are some of the leading members of this coalition to give you an idea:

  • Airbnb Inc., San Francisco, CA
  • Amazon.com Inc., Seattle, WA
  • American Express Company, New York, NY
  • Apple Inc., Cupertino, CA
  • Boston Celtics, Boston, MA
  • Deutsche Bank, New York, NY
  • Coca-Cola Co., The, Atlanta, GA

The Corporate Equality Index:

Finally, we have the Corporate Equality Index (CEI). Unlike the previous two examples, companies don’t opt into membership. Rather, the CEI assesses all companies for inclusivity. The index rates companies on how well they treat their LGBTQIA+ employees. Companies that treat these employees exceptionally well and receive a perfect score are given the official stamp of approval.

Inclusive Benefits that Include You

Some companies, aka the good ones, will offer inclusive benefits to their employees. For example, same-sex couples will get the same benefits as heterosexual couples. Or offer time off for adoption. They could also support their employees through medical transition with coverage and time off. There are a lot of wonderful, inclusive benefits a company can offer. If a company is offering these benefits, you can be confident that the workplace will be an accepting one. Hopefully, all workplaces will one day provide this same basic support. Until then, it’s something you should check to see if an employer offers.

Networking Events and How They Can Help

If you’ve used the tips above and are still struggling to find a safe space to work, you can try finding networking events through LGBTQ organizations like Out Professionals. They focus on creating professional connections for gay, lesbian, queer, and transgender employees. After all, who better to help LGBTQ employees than the LGBTQ community?

Job Seekers Unite

The biggest thing LGBT employees can do is to advocate for themselves and refuse to work for discriminatory companies. The ultimate hope is that one day, no queer individual has to spend hours of research in order to find a company that will give them the same basic protections as any other employee. If we want future generations to not have to face discrimination, we need to send a message that companies cannot get away with treating LGBTQ workers as lesser. Job searching is already difficult, we know, but if no one takes a stand today, then this behavior will only continue. LGBTQ workers are as important as any other, and company leadership is sure to notice if they have fewer employees than they need. Federal legislation can only do so much to deter these companies from discrimination. They need to feel it in their pockets. LGBTQ employees and heteronormative employees both need to look at a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and, if it isn’t good enough, need to take their talents elsewhere.


Before you work for any company, you need to do your research on them. It can be tempting to take the first job that comes your way, but if you can’t be yourself, then you are not going to be happy. Don’t be fooled by surface-level “pride,” and do real research into what the company stands for and believes in. There are many tools at your disposal.

You will be spending a lot of time at your job, whatever it is. For the sake of your mental health, you should feel safe and comfortable there. If you need help on your journey to finding a job where you are respected, visit us at Super Purposes so we can help! We want all LGBTQ+ to Work Where you are Honored.

Have a Super Day!

Camelle Gregoire

Camelle Gregoire

From an early age, I’ve always loved to read and write. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to make a career out of these passions, but thanks to Super Purposes I could. Now I want to be able to help others make careers out of their passions as well.