Inclusivity in Focus: Commemorating LGBTQIA+ Pride Month

by Anthem EAP and Kendall Johnson, HR Analyst, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Division, Department of Human Resources

Coming out for people who are LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, nonbinary, and other gender and sexually expansive identities) can bring relief and joy as they continue to learn who they are and find support within the LGBTQ+ community. While being part of the LGBTQ+ community can be a source of strength, it also can present challenges. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, members of the LGBTQ+ community are at a higher risk for mental health conditions, especially anxiety and depression.* That’s why it’s important to be aware of these challenges and learn what you can do to help.

How to support the LGBTQ+ community

Supporting LGBTQ+ family members, friends, and co-workers is vital to helping them feel comfortable and accepted for who they are, which also bolsters their mental health. Being an ally also helps others grow in understanding and knowledge. Here’s what you can do:

Create an atmosphere of acceptance

  • Be open and approachable, and consistently show you are supportive of LGBTQ+ concerns.
  • Be sensitive and respectful to all gender orientations and sexualities. Don’t assume that all people are heterosexual and/or cisgender, meaning their gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth.
  • Use inclusive language and correct pronouns.

Listen and be willing to engage in conversation

  • Offer empathy and support by validating concerns, experiences, and feelings.
  • Spend time with your LGBTQ+ family members, friends, or co-workers. Be present and aware.
  • Ask how you can be supportive yet be sensitive about the type of questions you ask.

Speak up in a caring way

  • Always show respect through your words and actions.
  • Say something if someone makes an insensitive comment or joke. Silence can be viewed as acceptance.
  • Normalize that there are a variety of sexual orientations and gender identities.

Expand your knowledge

  • Seek out information and resources to grow your understanding. Three good sources are the Gay-Straight Alliance Network at org, It Gets Better at itgetsbetter.org, and The Trevor Project at thetrevorproject.org.

 

Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers resources and support* too:

  • Online resources: Go to anthem.com/eap to log in. You’ll find helpful videos, podcasts, and articles.•
  • Professional counseling: Connect with a licensed professional for confidential online or in-person sessions by going to the EAP website.
  • For 24/7 emergency help, call 988 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

Acknowledging the profound importance of supporting LGBTQIA+ employees underscores the need for ongoing, substantive efforts to uphold this commitment. By embracing such strategies, we cultivate an inclusive and respectful workplace culture and reaffirm our dedication to creating environments where every individual feels valued, respected, and empowered.

Participate in Pride Month in Henrico County 2024

As we celebrate Pride Month and reassert our dedication to fostering inclusivity within our workplace, we are excited to spotlight the diverse range of initiatives across the county to champion equality and support our LGBTQ+ employees. From engaging community events to enlightening discussions, there’s something for everyone to participate in:

Love is Love at Belmont (4 pm, All ages): Join us in commemorating LGBTQ+ Pride month with a delightful assortment of activities. From arts & crafts to games and access to the community game room, there’s fun for all! Visit page 7 of the Summer Program Guide to find more information about this event.

Victorian Flower Language and the LGBTQ+ Community at The Parsons Center (2 pm, All ages): Explore the intriguing history of courting and dating in the Victorian Era, where flowers were used to convey romantic intentions. Discover how the LGBTQ+ community of that time adapted these floral exchanges to express their own romantic interests. Visit page 7 of the Summer Program Guide to find more information about this event.

Hands-On History: LGBTQIA+ Virginia: Delve into the rich history of LGBTQIA+ life in Virginia from 1970-2003 with University of Richmond Professor Dr. Pippa Holloway. Following the lecture, unleash your creativity with a hands-on craft session, crafting Pride pins to take home. Visit the HCPL events calendar to find more information about this event.

Libbie Mill LGBTQIA+ Book Discussion: Join in on a thought-provoking discussion of “True Biz” by Sara Nović, centered around students and faculty at the River Valley School for the Deaf as they navigate personal and political crises, celebrating language, Deaf community, and human connection. Visit the HCPL events calendar to find more information about this event.

We encourage you to maintain your engagement, involvement, and activity by taking the opportunity to explore the rich resources available on Henrico County’s Multicultural Community Engagement website and dedicated LGBTQIA+ page. Your continued presence and participation not only contribute to the ongoing celebration of inclusivity and diversity but also serve as a testament to our collective commitment to creating a more welcoming and supportive environment for all.

Sources:
U.S. Census Bureau: LGBT Adults Report Anxiety, Depression at All Ages (December 14, 2022): census.gov.
American Psychiatry Association: Five Ways To Support LGBTQ+ Mental Health (June 26, 2023): psychiatry.org.
The Trevor Project: Friends & Family Support Systems for LGBTQ Youth (August 20, 2021): thetrevorproject.org.
EAP products are offered by Anthem Life Insurance Company. In New York, Anthem EAP products are offered by Anthem Life & Disability Insurance Company. In California, Anthem EAP products are offered by Blue Cross of California using the trade name Anthem Blue Cross. ANTHEM is a registered trademark. Use of the Anthem EAP website constitutes your agreement with our Terms of Use.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of: In Colorado: Rocky Mountain Hospital and Medical Service, Inc. HMO products underwritten by HMO Colorado, Inc. In Connecticut: Anthem Health Plans, Inc. In Indiana: Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. In Georgia: Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthcare Plan of Georgia, Inc. and Community Care Health Plan of Georgia, Inc. In Kentucky: Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky, Inc. In Maine: Anthem Health Plans of Maine, Inc. In Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area): RightCHOICE® Managed Care, Inc. (RIT), Healthy Alliance® Life Insurance Company (HALIC), and HMO Missouri, Inc. RIT and certain affiliates administer non-HMO benefits underwritten by HALIC and HMO benefits underwritten by HMO Missouri, Inc. RIT and certain affiliates only provide administrative services for self-funded plans and do not underwrite benefits. In Nevada: Rocky Mountain Hospital and Medical Service, Inc. HMO products underwritten by HMO Colorado, Inc., dba HMO Nevada. In New Hampshire: Anthem Health Plans of New Hampshire, Inc. HMO plans are administered by Anthem Health Plans of New Hampshire, Inc. and underwritten by Matthew Thornton Health Plan, Inc. In 17 southeastern counties of New York: Anthem HealthChoice Assurance, Inc., and Anthem HealthChoice HMO, Inc. In these same counties Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield HP is the trade name of Anthem HP, LLC. In Ohio: Community Insurance Company. In Virginia: Anthem Health Plans of Virginia, Inc. trades as Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and its affiliate HealthKeepers, Inc. trades as Anthem HealthKeepers providing HMO coverage, and their service area is all of Virginia except for the City of Fairfax, the Town of Vienna, and the area east of State Route 123. In Wisconsin: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin (BCBSWI) underwrites or administers PPO and indemnity policies and underwrites the out-of-network benefits in POS policies offered by Compcare Health Services Insurance Corporation (Compcare) or Wisconsin Collaborative Insurance Corporation (WCIC). Compcare underwrites or administers HMO or POS policies; WCIC underwrites or administers Well Priority HMO or POS policies. Independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Anthem is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc.