How businesses can support intersectionality

While Pride month is behind us, we must continue to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community’s contributions and milestones that helped us get to where we are today. Throughout the year, we join forces, participate in events and spotlight the community’s unwavering spirit and incredible resiliency. In addition to continuing to support the LGBTQ+ community, it is important to reflect on the challenges and disparities that persist. There is more that must be done to further advance diversity and inclusion in Phoenix, which includes focusing on the intersectionality of race in the LGBTQ+ community.

Coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, intersectionality recognizes the overlap among identities and personal factors such as race, gender, sexuality, religion, income and more. It’s a key element in driving social equality and addressing pervasive disparities and impacts that have been accelerated due to the pandemic.

Many marginalized communities of color including Black and Hispanic-Latino individuals within the LGBTQ+ community have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Research from the Human Rights Campaign and PSB Research found people of color within the LGBTQ+ community faced significant economic and workforce challenges including higher rates of unemployment due to the pandemic and reduced work hours. In fact, Hispanic-Latino respondents reported higher on these challenges compared to other survey respondents.

While there is still work to be done to reach greater equality, prioritizing diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives have become a more central part of how companies and agencies support the community.

History has shown that the private sector has been a key driver in forwarding equitable opportunities, workplace protections and benefits at times when public policy was deficient. Back in 1997, my employer, Bank of America was the first financial services company to announce it would provide comprehensive domestic partner benefits. In 2007, we were one of the first financial firms to offer medically necessary treatments for employees embarking on a gender transition process.

As we continue to build momentum and address long-standing issues of inclusion and equity for the LGBTQ+ community, intersectionality must be a central focus of this push forward.

Here in Phoenix, we’re supporting LGBTQ+ nonprofits, such as Aunt Rita’s Foundation, one in ten and Phoenix Pride, that advocate for greater social justice and address the gaps in services and economic opportunities for minorities within the LGBTQ+ community.

Already a D&I pioneer, Bank of America’s LGBTQ+ Pride Employee Network does more with our Hispanic-Latino, Black and Asian American employee networks than ever before, and works to ensure more diverse representation on panels, for example. 

From building a diverse company to promoting equality and inclusion in our communities, we can elevate different voices and perspectives by supporting the intersectionality of race within the LGBTQ+ community. As we enjoy various Pride events throughout the year, let’s take the time to celebrate, embrace and learn from personal stories of courage and work together toward greater diversity, inclusion and understanding.

About the author

Marc Brumm is Global Technology and Operations Control Manager and LGBTQ+ Employee Network Co-Chair at Bank of America Phoenix.

Photo by Margo Amala on Unsplash

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