How Upgrade is Uplifting and Celebrating LGBTQ+ Folks During Pride Month

In a time when supportive employers and communities are more important than ever, Upgrade’s Pride ERG offers a “safe space for LGBTQ+ team members and allies to connect and support each other.”

Written by Taylor Rose
Published on Jun. 07, 2024
How Upgrade is Uplifting and Celebrating LGBTQ+ Folks During Pride Month
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Imagine for a moment being in a high school World History class a decade from now. In the class, you learn about a country grappling with discrimination and people being charged with fraud for updating their name on legal documents like IDs and birth certificates. You learn that, in the same country,  doctors and pharmacists turn away people who needed surgeries and medicine, and people were arrested just for using the restroom. 

What you are learning about in this future World History class is how transgender people are legally being treated in the United States today. 

The list above includes just a few examples of the legal discriminations that transgender adults face in various states at the time of this article, and many more threats are actively coming to life. This year alone, nearly 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced in state legislatures around the country. These kinds of laws have a documented connection to a rise in violence against LGBTQ+ people — as noted by Homeland Security and the United States’ placement as one of the top three countries of the world where transgender people are likely to be murdered, according to the Transgender Law Center. 

Just a year after the Human Rights Campaign declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the United States, a Data for Progress survey found that “many LGBTQ+

Americans feel unsafe in their communities,” and that “a majority of transgender adults report a low sense of belonging in U.S. society, while less than half feel comfortable expressing

themselves in their local community.” 

Workplaces play a huge role in LGBTQ+ support, protection and belonging. Things like equal employment opportunities, affirming healthcare, inclusive family support all the way to gender-neutral bathrooms and LGBTQ+ ERG communities — these all play a vital role in an inclusive workplace. 

Built In San Francisco spoke with a local Pride ERG leader, Vedran Tetaric, to hear about how Upgrade not only supports and protects LGBTQ+ employees, but makes a point to celebrate them, letting them know that they belong.  

 

Vedran Tetaric
Talent Acquisition Partner, Upgrade Pride ERG Lead • Upgrade, Inc.

Upgrade is a fintech company that offers affordable credit to mainstream consumers.

 

What is Upgrade coordinating for Pride Month on a local level? 

The unique thing about Pride is that, while June is nationally recognized as Pride Month, cities often host their own celebrations outside of that month. Phoenix, for example, hosts its Pride Festival in October, and since our Operations Center is based in Phoenix, it was a natural fit for us to get involved. 

This will be the third year we’ve sponsored a booth as a company at the Phoenix Pride Festival. It’s a great opportunity for Upgrade team members to connect with LGBTQ+ locals and meet potential hires in a more relaxed environment where they can show up as their authentic selves. 

During Pride month this June, Upgrade’s Pride ERG is also bringing in a guest speaker to talk about LGBTQ+ issues that are important to our group members.

 

How does Upgrade support and empower the LGBTQ+ members of your team? 

Upgrade continually strives to foster an inclusive and accepting environment within the company. The Pride ERG was the first ERG Upgrade launched, and we’re fortunate to have one of the most diverse and intersectional populations within our group. 
 

“Upgrade continually strives to foster an inclusive and accepting environment within the company.” 

 

Our ERG is a safe space for LGBTQ+ team members and allies to connect and support each other. We also have a dedicated Slack channel where team members often share upcoming LGBTQ+ events happening in their cities and invite others to join them.

 

Beyond the month of June, what are some examples of ways Upgrade supports or advocates for the LGBTQ+ community?

Pride is celebrated year-round, across the country and around the world. Real events, past and present, impact the LGBTQ+ community. Upgrade is always eager to engage in conversations, educate team members on current events and celebrate designated LGBTQ+ days, weeks and months.

Upgrade also gives us quite a bit of freedom, particularly within our ERG groups, to collaborate with any organization that aligns with our group’s mission.

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by Shutterstock and Upgrade.

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