As a kid, my mom use to always talk to me about the real meaning of Christmas. She told me that the visuals that I see of Christmas which include Santa, Rudolph, Frosty, Elves, etc did not reflect the true meaning of the holiday. She indicated that the holiday was more about sacrifice, giving, love and acts of kindness.
As we wind down Pride Month, I am reminded of my mom’s words of wisdom. Pride Month is not about the visuals of parades, floats, rainbow colored paraphernalia and speeches. Instead, the true meaning of Pride is reflected in actions of courage, sacrifice and commitment towards equity for members of the LGBTQ community.
On June 23, 2019, many members of the executive team at Childrens Minnesota participated in the Pride Parade. The visuals were great. Our CEO played trombone in a LGBTQ band that marched in the parade, my daughter and I handed out lip balm and other Children’s Minnesota branded items along the route and many Children’s employees and their families walked, waved and shook hands with the massive crowd. The visuals were amazing.
On July 2, 2019, the real meaning of Pride was revealed. For the last several months, I noticed the single stall restrooms in the executive offices at Children’s Minnesota in Minneapolis were designated for Men and Women on the respective restrooms. I asked a few people at the time why the restrooms are not gender neutral since they are single stall and serve mainly people in the executive suite. I asked would it be ok if we changed the signs to reflect gender neutral restrooms. I also spoke with the Executive Sponsor of our Pride Employee Resource Group and asked if she would support the change. She emphatically said yes. I was pleased. I then thought I should probably start the process of meetings I thought were necessary to make this change. I thought there had to be a significant and probably lengthy process to make this happen. This is where I got surprised. There were no meetings called, there were no outside experts consulted, there was no data reviewed to prove disparities, instead a decision was made and #EquityActions taken. The temporary sign below (permanent signs ordered) was placed on the display outside of the restrooms. “The restroom may be used by any person regardless of gender identity or expression – Restroom.” The visual of this sign is amazing .
Pride will always be a festive and good time every June. I look forward to attending every year. However, I also look forward to what actions people will take after Pride to assure Equity and Inclusion for the LBGTQ community. #EquityActions!