Proud To Celebrate Pride: In June, Our QCrew ERG Takes Center Stage
Our QCrew employee resource group takes center stage every June to celebrate our LGBTQIA+ employees’ freedom to be their authentic selves at work. This year, QCrew has a plethora of events planned, including a new Storytelling Pride Series. It’s also the first time we’re formally supporting Kentuckiana Pride Festival and Parade in Louisville.
Pride Month in June is an annual celebration of LGBTQIA+ individuals. According to Library of Congress, it was originally created to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, an essential tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. At CoverMyMeds, it’s also a unique opportunity for our company’s QCrew employee resource group (ERG) to take center stage and openly celebrate our employees’ freedom to be their authentic selves at work.
QCrew is one of 11 ERGs at CoverMyMeds, and it’s the Columbus chapter of McKesson’s larger Pride ERG for LGBTQIA+ employees and allies. Currently, it makes up over 25% of the national group. QCrew has been active at CoverMyMeds since 2018, inspired by a lunch and learn series called LGBTQ&A. Notably, 2022 is QCrew’s fourth year planning Pride Month events for employees based in Columbus and beyond.
According to Andy Orlando, senior product strategy analyst and former co-chair of QCrew, this year’s Pride Month celebrations are particularly special since ERG members can celebrate in person for the first time since 2019.
Editor’s Note: Andy stepped down from his co-chair position June 1, 2022 to extend the leadership opportunity to other QCrew members.
“Now that we can safely gather, we’re putting our energy into planning social events for employees,” Andy said. “Coming out of the pandemic, a lot of folks asked for more opportunities to get to know their colleagues — that personal connection is so vital to our community.”
Angie Healey, HubExpress trainer and fellow QCrew co-chair, agreed.
“Pride Month is like an extended Christmas for us little sweet baby queers — the hardest thing is narrowing down which events to attend,” Angie said. “Now that in-person opportunities are opening back up, we’re excited to get together for quality hangs. There’s a palpable eagerness to socialize.”
Pride Month is like an extended Christmas for us little sweet baby queers — the hardest thing is narrowing down which events to attend.
A plethora of events planned for Pride Month
QCrew has a packed schedule of events planned for Pride Month 2022, including a new Storytelling Pride Series in which folks share personal stories and emotional reflections on what Pride Month means to them.
McKesson’s Pride ERG also invited QCrew members to attend a Q&A session with an employee who identifies as “Two-Spirit,” a term used by some Indigenous people to describe their sexual, gender and/or spiritual identity, according to University of Toronto.
Other plans for Pride Month in June are as follows, some of which have already occurred:
- June 2: Kick-off Pride 101 event, history lesson and happy hour
- June 7: “Coming Out of Your Closet” presentation with Ash Beckham
- June 10: Franklinton Fridays, Pride Month event (CoverMyMeds is a sponsor)
- June 18: Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival (CoverMyMeds is a sponsor)
- June 30: Happy hour to end Pride Month at Columbus campus
Beyond Columbus, CoverMyMeds will also support the annual Kentuckiana Pride Festival and Parade in Louisville, Ky., for the first time this year. Additionally, McKesson’s segment-wide Pride ERG hosted a booth during Dallas Pride Music Festival on June 4, as well as a huge parade float and walking group during the 2022 Dallas Pride Parade Sunday on June 5. As for the ERG’s plans in Atlanta, they’re planning to host a booth during Atlanta Pride Festival from Oct. 7-9, 2022.
“I’m beyond excited and grateful to help drive participation in the Kentuckiana Pride Parade in Louisville this year,” said Hutson Sargent, PharmD, registered pharmacist at CoverMyMeds and Pride ERG volunteer. “We haven't been able to march in the parade since the pandemic began, so it’s thrilling to come back together as a company to celebrate the event with our LGBTQIA+ employees and allies.”
Celebrating our LGBTQIA+ employees year-round
Although QCrew has an undeniably larger-than-life presence every June, the ERG stays busy year-round to help CoverMyMeds be a best place to work and grow for marginalized individuals, no matter the month.
The ERG recently hosted a lunch and learn about how technology in healthcare affects the LGBTQIA+ patient population, specifically regarding the importance of inclusive fields for gender identity on intake forms. That event proved so popular, QCrew also presented their findings to staff members at OhioHealth, a not-for-profit system of hospitals and healthcare providers located in Columbus and surrounding areas.
Another campaign QCrew recently promoted was a letter-writing initiative on behalf of Kaleidoscope Youth Center in Columbus’ Olde Towne East neighborhood. The campaign was created in response to a version of the anti-LGBTQIA+ “Don’t Say Gay” bill being introduced in Ohio. The letter-writing event encouraged CoverMyMeds employees to write an inspiring message to an LGBTQIA+ youth aged 10-14 and their families, sharing words of wisdom, comfort and motivation. In total, the company sent 67 notes to queer youth of Ohio.
Pride Month’s most essential impact is on LGBTQIA+ youth in the community who are at home watching and wondering if they’ll ever feel like they fit in.
Beyond ERG programming, QCrew was instrumental in the design of CoverMyMeds’ Columbus campus, advocating for the addition of all-gender restrooms and inclusive signage on every floor. And instead of displaying stick figures in skirts and pants, the gender-specific restrooms simply say “Men” and “Women.” That subtle update serves to recognize that gender expression goes far beyond clothing and lets employees know they don’t need to dress or look a certain way. Currently, QCrew is working with other office locations to try to implement similar standards.
Although QCrew is eager to recognize the importance of making all CoverMyMeds employees feel included and comfortable in the workplace, Andy says Pride Month celebrations in particular help accomplish something even more paramount with wider reaching ramifications.
“Pride Month isn’t just for people who’re proudly out, marching in parades,” Andy said. “Rather, its biggest impact is on LGBTQIA+ youth in the community who are at home watching and wondering if they’ll ever feel like they fit in. We want them to know there’s a whole world out there that will love them for who they are.”
Advocating for education, acceptance and change
Last year’s Pride Month activities and events revolved around a theme of “intersectionality.” This year, the ERG’s theme is more about community building.
“There’s a lot going on in the world right now, particularly in the LGBTQIA+ community,” Andy said. “Although Pride Month is a time for celebration, it’s also a time for education — that’s the most important thing allies can do, educate themselves. For example, I’m not transgender, but I make it a priority to stay up to date on issues that affect the trans community.”
Likewise, Angie is a proponent of education — in addition to acceptance and change. “It’s 2022, so it’s a bummer that we even still have to fight for diversity, equity and inclusion,” she said. “Different perspectives are inherently valuable — surrounding yourself with a diverse group of people at work and in your personal life will only make you blossom."
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