Healthy minds for all

The Local Touch: A Neighborhood Spot for Everyone


The LGBTQ+ community has come a long way in building community around neighborhood spots for socializing, engagement and fun. From queer bars and clubs, to LGBT centers and queer sports leagues, these are the places queers of every background gather to mingle and let their authentic light shine. And with summer Pride season in full swing, the community shows up en masse, painted in rainbow and glitter, to celebrate our hard-won battles and the continued work for equal rights. Oh, and the parades are super gay fun!

McDonald's, a proud supporter of Pride month, understands how creating a diverse and inclusive space in its restaurants bolsters neighborhood spots for community engagement. And with Pride season here, the Golden Arches brings a local touch to each and every one of its restaurants for its LGBTQ+ fans and crew members to feel supported and accepted. There is still work to be done – but McDonald's strives to make its restaurants a local spot for queers and allies to enjoy.

One pivotal way McDonald's achieves its goals of friendly and accepting neighborhood spots is through building and implementing diversity and inclusion in its culture. McDonald's collaborates with organizations to deepen its commitment to diversity and inclusion for LGBTQ+ people who live and work in the places we call home. One such organization, Out & Equal, is a nonprofit LGBTQ+ organization with the mission "to challenge organizations and transform workplaces." In fact, the organization actively works "to support LGBTQ+ employees and leaders who thrive in their careers and lives and achieve greater impact on the world."

McDonald's collaborates with Out & Equal because their visions align with the truth that there's more work to be done. "We believe equality is about more than checking off boxes. And we know inclusion requires more than a set of directions," the Out & Equal website proudly proclaims. "It's about creating spaces that celebrate and foster growth for every kind of employee, where leadership is made up of different people with diverse perspectives."

Out & Equal knows there's more work to be done. Newly-minted Board Member Allyn L. Shaw, "a Black, Queer man with multiple disabilities," sees opportunities for growth in his new position. Shaw was interviewed for a blog for Out & Equal: "And when you engage individuals in the workplace and really take the time to see who is in front of you, you start to appreciate that none of us are singular really. We are a combination of many threads – gender, race, ethnicity, experiences, faith, culture, and sexual expression – that are brought together to create this cloth we call community."

Neighborhood spots – places for LGBTQ+ folks to gather and commiserate – are integral to community engagement. They instill trust in community members, allow for sharing and bonding, and let people discover where they belong. McDonald's works with leaders like Reginald Miller and organizations like Out & Equal to shape company culture and ultimately drive community building efforts. When we feel we belong, queer folks shine the brightest.

by Roger Porter

This story is part of our special report: "McDonald's Unity in Diversity and Mentally Strong Editorial Series". Want to read more? Here's the full list.

Read These Next