8 Easy Ways to Welcome LGBTQ+ Meeting Attendees

In recognition of Pride Month, these tips will help planners better integrate diversity and inclusion into their agendas.

Welcoming LGBT Meeting Attendees

June is Pride Month, a time to embrace and celebrate sexual diversity and freedom of expression. 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, director of events for M3Meet and immediate past chair of the LGBT Meeting Professionals Association.

How to Make Your Event Inclusive and LGBTQ+ Friendly

1. 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. 

2. 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.

3. Speakers

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

4. Marketing

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

5. 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. 

6. 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.)

7. 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.

8. Anti-Harassment Policy

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