The March is Not Over: Why We Celebrate Pride

Each year in the U.S., the month of June is dedicated to recognizing the LGBTQIA+ community—celebrating progress and reflecting on own history. Pride month started with a police raid on June 28, 1969, at Greenwich Village's Stonewall Inn in New York City. The following year, gay rights activists marked the first anniversary of the riots that ensued with a march on Central Park. It’s this moment that’s inspired the Pride parades we enjoy today. 

While June brings many events supporting our LGBTQIA+ teammates, we believe LGBTQIA+ people should feel supported around the world, all year round – not just during our local Pride months. Some may question why Okta features Pride events so prominently at work and whether people are “ready” for such a commitment to LGBTQIA+ inclusion. Historically, this is a common refrain heard by oppressed communities fighting for change in the culture. This history has shown that by prioritizing the comfort and readiness of the larger culture, we jeopardize the safety of our LGBTQIA+ friends and teammates. 

This year, we’re committed to launching programs that support our impacted employees – including our LGBTQIA+ teammates and, in particular, our trans people of color. 

Today, in recognition of our Pride Employee Resource Group (ERG), we’re changing our Aura logo to Rainbow Pride. But we’re not interested in virtue-signaling; we’re striving for real inclusion and transparency. It’s a statement of purpose, a chance to discuss our inclusivity efforts and acknowledge their importance. 

As a globally distributed company, we take pride that our team members are supported in lifting up their local Pride events and workshops, year-round. Below, we’re highlighting some key events during June of 2022 and the past year:

  • Through our Inclusive Language program, we’ve committed to changing the words and phrases we use in our products and documentation. As a joint effort across Okta and Auth0, the process was detailed in a blog post by Stacy Taylor
  • Attendees who joined us for our Precise Language workshop series demonstrated a 40% increase in knowledge and capability around LGBTQ-inclusive language. 
  • In London, our Pride ERG is leading a book drive in which employees choose from a selection of LGBTQ+ books to share with their friends and families. The book drive supports OutRight International’s Ukraine Emergency Fund, with donation matching through Okta for Good. 
  • We’re leading Pride celebrations around the globe, including the San Francisco Pride Parade on Sunday, June 26th. Throughout the year, Pride ERG members also hold events in Bellevue, Chicago, London, Sydney, Tokyo, and Washington, DC.
  • On the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, we are hosting a series of inclusion workshops where people managers and team members get access to data about LGBTQ+ experiences around the world, practice using pronouns and recovering from mistakes, and identify 7 allyship actions they can take right away.

These workshops and celebrations are simple ways that we, and any organization, can take to be a more inclusive and equitable workplace. Until our LGBTQIA+ team members can be their authentic selves, with no concerns about workplace discrimination due to who they are and who they love, we recognize it’s not nearly enough. 

We’re grateful to the team members who challenge us to do better every day, and we commit to implementing real, transformational change—with the data to back it up. Most importantly, we know that this work doesn’t stop on June 30th. While the Rainbow Pride logo will morph back to its familiar colors, our commitment lives on. Pride is a movement towards acceptance, and movements have no time bounds, only transformational ones.

In closing, we’ve asked Dennis Henry, a member of our Pride Committee and an aspiring ally, to share his thoughts on practicing allyship.