Beyond the rainbow flag: Tangerine in the Pride community
Written by Michael Weissman

Friday, June 10th, 2022

June is Pride Month, and as the writer Margaret J. Wheatley once said, “There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about." For those of us in the Tangerine family, this emphasis on community and discovery goes beyond just the month of June.

Every year, we proudly emblazon our orange logo with the colourful stripes of the rainbow flag, but to us, supporting Pride is a year-round pursuit to help promote our workplace, and our country, as a more inclusive space.

Here are just a few of the things we're involved with right now that have us feeling, ahem, pretty proud.

People's Network Year Three

Tangerine has entered its third year of the Pride People's Network. The People's Network is an inclusion initiative that's employee-led and voluntary and is formally supported by the company – and, as Corry Melanson can attest, there was a time when the emergence of these groups was an exciting new frontier.

“I have been with the bank for 10 years," Melanson says. “Until about four years ago, there were not any People's Networks of any kind, so when the first one started (Women in Leadership), I joined immediately. Other groups started to form, and when the formation of Pride People's Network was announced, I messaged leadership immediately, wanting to get involved."

Melanson, a Senior Manager of Service and Sales in Tangerine's Moncton site, knew the importance of true workplace inclusivity.

“Feeling confident and comfortable in your workplace regardless of who you are is so important. We spend so much of our lives with our coworkers, and I wanted to help create a workspace that didn't only silently accept people, that's not enough. I wanted to contribute to a culture where we outwardly accepted people and fought against hate and ignorance." The Pride People's Network has grown, with more than 20 members, along with the bank's commitment to inclusion.

Education sessions

Melanson took the lead in hosting an education session on acronyms. It's common for people to feel intimidated around the evolving terminology in the Pride community, so rather than creating fear of judgment, Melanson decided education was the best way to connect with new allies.

“I created an education deck using the LGBTQIA2S+ acronym as a launching pad to explore all of the terminology I could fit into a 60-minute session. Each letter had a slide and each slide dove into terminology related to that letter. I hosted this as a lunch-and-learn to over 200 participants and got some very positive feedback about the value of the session."

There's more where that came from. Melanson recruited his peers from the Pride People's Network to help host another educational session on LGBTQ+ history. It covered LGBT+ rights in North America from the 1900s until today.

“About eight of us did a ton of research and created a slide or two per decade, covering off some major LGBT+ milestones such as Stonewall, the right to marry, decriminalization of being gay, the bathhouse raids in Toronto and a lot more."

With further emphasis on the importance of education, the Pride People's Network hosted an important transgender education session along with bingo and trivia for a little extra fun.

Drag Queen Q&A Event for Kids

The 519, a grassroots Toronto organization and community centre dedicated to LGBTQ+ advocacy and inclusion, will host an exciting drag queen Q&A event for kids on June 11. The event will be part of a day of Family and Youth Pride Celebration. The Tangerine-sponsored event will be a wonderful opportunity for children to have a constructive dialogue and learn all about the world of drag.

Company inclusivity

Keeping up with the importance of workplace inclusivity, Tangerine announced enhanced coverage in its 2022 benefits plan for gender-affirming procedures. Employees are now able to take advantage of new plans to help support them along their journeys.

In the spirit of inclusion around the office, Tangerine recently renovated its head office in Toronto with new gender-neutral washrooms as well as beautiful artwork to spread the message of diversity throughout the workplace experience.

 

Tangerine marches with the LGBTQ+ community

Last but not least, Tangerine will march in this year's Toronto Pride Parade on June 26 and do our part to wave that rainbow flag proudly. It's the flagship event of one of the world's biggest Pride festivals, finally returning to the streets after two years of virtual festivities due to COVID-19. So come on out, be an ally, and help us celebrate the freedoms we've fought so hard to enjoy.

TOP: Photos by Esmaa Mohamoud in a Tangerine boardroom (Photo by Shawn Goldberg).

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