We take pride in a lot of things at Foursquare – and one of those is our continuous efforts to better our culture and support communities within our company and beyond. That’s why Pride Month is so important to us, and a great reminder to recognize the progress we’ve made in supporting the LGBTQIA+ and how we can do even more.
While perhaps surprising at first, the best way to understand Foursquare’s support for the LGBTQIA+ community may be through FourSQuad, our employee resource group for veterans. Vets, like the LGBTQIA+ community, are faced with constant challenges both in and out of uniform. The shared experience is what inspired the partnership between FourSQuad and Foursqueer, Foursquare’s employee resource group for the LGBTQIA+ community. ERGs are about developing a sense of community within Foursquare and through this partnership, we’re able to think about intersectional communities such as being a veteran and LGBTQIA+, in order to bring awareness to both and uncover meaningful connections.
To kick off this partnership, FourSQuad and Foursqueer are hosting an upcoming educational event to dive into the military experience for transwomen during the pre-Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell era in the military. This policy, which forced tens of thousands of people to stay in the closet, was enacted in 1993 and removed in 2011, yet there continue to be new policies that impact the trans community in the military. Moderated by Gavin Mohrmann, Co-Lead of FourSQuad, the fireside chat will also talk through the concept of “chosen family,” how parents can support their kids who are interested in transitioning, discrimination within the LGBTQIA+ community, and how can allies can create a safer space for trans folks trying to come out to loved ones.
This event is one of the many Pride-themed events Foursquare is hosting throughout the month of June and rest assured, we want to make this fun too. Party and protest go hand-in-hand for the LGBTQIA+ community after all. In recognition, Foursqueer will be hosting a rooftop happy hour featuring food from a queer-owned caterer and a performance by three queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race. There, we’ll dive into conversations with “queer elders” who found refuge at gay bars and understand how far we’ve come, especially given the tumultuous history of the Stonewall Riots, where New York City police raided a local gay club in Greenwich Village. We will also have a station for writing notes to SAGE, a non-profit group for LGBTQIA+ elders, in order to thank them for paving the way for the current queer community.
Generally speaking, support is on the rise. Roughly 80 percent of Americans say they favored laws that would protect LGBTQ+ people against discrimination in employment, public accommodations and housing. Fifty years ago, it was unthinkable that the LGBTQIA+ community would be so central to American culture.
With all the progress we made, however, we are also cognizant of the potential to do more. Transgender people still face rampant discrimination in healthcare and employment. Gay and transgender youth are far more likely to end up homeless. Deplorably, discrimination against members of the LGBTQIA+ community is still legal in much of the country.
This is why, for Foursquare, support for the LGBTQIA+ community isn’t just something we do every June. We are always looking to make Foursquare’s culture more inclusive. We share pronouns here. We train employees on unconscious bias and creating a safe space for colleagues, friends, and family to come out of the closet.
We are actively looking for organizations to partner with to attract more talent from the LGBTQIA+ community to Foursquare and to the technology community more broadly.
We also live our values, even when it impacts our bottom line. Our contracts forbid using the data and technology we provide from enabling discrimination or harming people as they seek employment, credit, housing, healthcare, or insurance. We have lost potential customers over that rule, but we do not regret it for a second. The right thing to do is the right thing to do.
The FourSQuad and Foursqueer teams remind us of that every day. We can fight for what’s right and have fun doing it (if a rooftop happy hour led by three fabulous drag queens isn’t proof enough).
Interested in joining a company that not only provides community for our veterans and LGBTQIA+ employees, but continues to find ways to make it a more inclusive workplace? Take a look at our open roles here.