Are you committed to creating a sense of belonging and equality in every event you design? While organizations host events for a wide variety of reasons – to inform, influence, and inspire – they also want to bring people together authentically and make sure everyone enjoys themselves. Designing events that are welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community requires a thoughtful, intentional approach to ensure a safe and inclusive environment for all attendees.
So, what can you do to make your events more inclusive? To help relieve some decision-making stress, here are 5 amazingly easy ways to make your events more inclusive.
Tip #1: Ensure your location is inclusive (didn’t we tell you these were easy?)
Choosing your event’s location is especially important when it comes to planning an LGBTQ+ friendly event. If your event is at an international destination, do your research and know which locations are “friendliest to all.” When evaluating a venue, consider the location, the attitude, and the accessibility. Will your attendees feel comfortable and safe during your event? Are there gender-neutral restroom options? It’s important to find a venue that will not only accommodate your event’s needs but also make everyone feel welcome, so take the time to make informed decisions.
Tip #2: Let your attendees know that diversity and inclusion matters
Make sure your attendees know they’re safe at your event no matter who they love or identify as, so they’ll feel welcome to attend. Promote diversity and inclusion in every aspect of your event, including marketing materials, event activities, and entertainment to create a sense of community and celebration. Ensure that the speakers and performers at your event are representative of the LGBTQ+ community, which can help attendees feel seen and supported. (Bonus: this can also provide educational opportunities for those who may not be as familiar with the community.) Use gender-neutral language and ask for preferred pronouns during the registration process to be respectful of everyone’s identity. Instead of using phrases like “ladies and gentlemen,” consider using phrases like “guests” or “friends.” Similarly, avoid making assumptions about someone’s gender identity based on their appearance or name.
Tip #3: Take a stand
During planning, consider setting a zero-tolerance policy and communicate it to your attendees, hotel staff, and any security staff on-site. This will ensure everyone is prepared to act accordingly if they see or hear something inappropriate. Have a designated point of contact at your event desk (or available via text) who can address concerns and answer questions regarding inclusion – you want your guests to feel that they have a safe person to go to.
Tip #4: Ask for help from the pros
Another amazingly easy suggestion — integrate the LGBTQ+ community into your event. Learn from diverse perspectives and be ready to challenge your own biases. Representation matters, and when guests can see themselves as a part of your event, they’re more likely to be engaged. Partner with local LGBTQ+ organizations to help plan and promote your event — this can help you ensure the event is inclusive and relevant to the community. You might just make a few new friends too!
Tip #5: Advocate for inclusivity
Consider providing educational resources at your event, such as information about the history of the community, current hot-button issues, and resources for support. Events are a great method for educating and raising awareness about the LGBTQ+ community — don’t miss this opportunity to advocate for inclusivity!
Creating inclusive events is an ongoing process. We only grow by living and learning, so be open to feedback from your attendees to learn how to adapt your next event into a more inclusive experience for all.
Creating an inclusive event experience for the LGBTQ+ community takes intentional effort and thoughtful planning. By taking these amazingly easy steps, you can create an event that celebrates diversity, promotes inclusion, and fosters a sense of community among all attendees. Together, we can build a future where everyone has an equal opportunity to participate, connect and thrive in the events they attend. For even more tips, visit our blog on diversifying your next event.