9 Easy Ways to Welcome LGBTQ+ Event Participants

In recognition of Pride Month, we present these tips to help create a more diverse and inclusive meeting.

Welcoming LGBT Meeting Attendees

June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month, a time to embrace and celebrate sexual diversity and freedom of expression. The monthlong celebration began as a way to honor the Stonewall Uprising, a tipping point for Gay rights that occurred in Manhattan in 1969. Extensive information about the history, traditions and achievements associated with Pride Month is available from the Library of Congress.

As meeting professionals, we should strive to provide a welcoming environment for all attendees, including those who identify as LGBTQ+. 

Following are some simple suggestions from Jim Clapes, conference services manager for Mayer Brown and a former chair of the LGBT Meeting Professionals Association.

How to Make Your Event Inclusive and LGBTQ+ Friendly


1. Inclusive Language

Learn and use LGBTQ+ inclusive language in all written and spoken communications related to and during the event. The Safe Zone Project, a free online resource promoting LGBTQ+ awareness, offers simple guidelines.

2. Site Selection

Make sure you're working with cities and venues that have shown a commitment to inclusion. Look at policies and sentiment regarding LGBTQ+ rights and diversity in general. 

3. Contracts

Consider specifying in your contracts that if any anti-LGBTQ+ legislation is enacted at the state level, you can cancel without penalty. (You might face some pushback, especially for smaller events. You’ll have more leverage for large meetings and conferences.)

4. Marketing

Study your marketing. Does it depict men and women of diverse ethnicities? Does it show gay couples?

5. Speakers

Be sure your session presenters include women, people of color and individuals from the LGBT+ community.

6. Pronouns

Allow people to designate their gender identity or preferred pronouns on their name badges, if they so choose. This can be done with ribbons that stick to the badge.

7. Anti-Harassment Policy

Issue a nondiscrimination and anti-harassment policy that must be agreed to upon registering for the event.

8. Restrooms

Designate some single-gender restrooms near your meeting space as gender-neutral rooms that can be used by anyone, regardless of their gender expression or identity.

9. Mixers

Depending on the nature of the meeting and the composition of the attendance, consider having an LGBTQ+ mixer. This allows people to connect with others who identify as LGBTQ+, adding to the overall sense of inclusion.