The United States—and other countries including Canada and Australia—recognizes the month of June as Pride Month. President Bill Clinton designated the month of June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month in 1999 and 2000. Since then, past and current presidents have declared June as Pride Month during their presidency. The month celebrates the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) community and the 1969 Stonewall Uprising. The Stonewall Uprising played a monumental role in the gay rights liberation movement from the late 1960s through the 1980s. Members of the LGBTQ+ community actively stood up for their rights, and in June 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage under Obergefell v. Hodges.
Pride month is a celebration that should be recognized by everyone. It is a time to acknowledge and appreciate the impact that LGBTQ+ individuals have had on society. It is both a celebration of our differences and a recognition of the many things we all have in common. It is a reminder that there are many qualities that are part of each of us that need to be brought forward, talked about, accepted, and appreciated. That awareness is why these events are so important. Of course, this includes the loss prevention community.
“When I started in the LP industry approximately 17 years ago I had a manager openly and unapologetically go from praising and giving awards, to speaking derogatorily against me and discriminating against me once he found out about my sexual orientation. It took nearly 16 years of hiding my family status and sexual orientation from all future supervisors fearing similar discrimination before finally feeling safe to be my authentic self. I still have leftover knee-jerk feelings on things like this (the survey) that ask, but ultimately, I now feel comfortable answering the questions and being me.”
The anonymous quote above was written in response to a diversity and inclusion survey that LPM conducted last year. The survey asked loss prevention and retail employees a variety of questions that pushed the envelope of typical questions. The survey asked participants to truly reflect on their experience—and others’—in the industry with diversity, equity, and inclusion in regards to race, gender, sexuality, and more. Participants were welcomed to further comment on their answers, if they felt an explanation or expansion was necessary.
In the beginning of the LPM survey, participants were asked to characterize their current sexual orientation. Out of the 401 participant responses, 7 participants (1.76 percent) identify as gay males, 8 participants (2.01 percent) identify as lesbian females, six participants (1.5 percent) identify as bisexual, one participant (0.25 percent) identifies as a transgender female, and one participant (0.25 percent) identifies as non-binary.
When participants were asked: “I feel that at work and/or in my everyday life, there are times that I have been discriminated against based on my…” 28 participants (7.2 percent) answered that they felt they had been discriminated against due to their sexual preference or sexual orientation.
“I accept all people, from all walks of life and honestly don’t care what they look like. I judge people by what they say and what they do, not what they look like or what they believe. Their sexual orientation is none of my business and has no bearing on the job they need to do.”
The quote above was also pulled from last year’s survey. Though there are still many opportunities for the loss prevention industry, and other industries, to continue diversifying the workplace, it is also important to focus on the growth throughout the past 50 years. From the legalization of same sex marriage in all 50 states to individuals feeling as if they can now truly express themselves in the workplace, the LGBTQ+ community has “walked a long road to freedom.”