Every June for the past 50 years, we celebrate #PrideMonth to reflect and spread to the world the importance of equality for all people around the globe. Pride Month is a time to consider the enormous progress we (and the world more generally) have made for LGBTQIA+ rights. But while many societies and companies have made great strides toward equality, there is still work to be done.
Like most important dates, Pride Month started with police raids and riots. On June 28, 1969, the New York City police raided a gay club called Stonewall Inn, which led to six days of protests called “The Stonewall Riots“.
Stonewall Riots were the birth of the gay rights movement in the US and the world. More than 50 years later, Pride Month is a reminder to be courageous and accept oneself and others.
It’s a reminder that we all deserve to feel belonging and should be accountable for creating safe and inclusive environments.
Why Pride should matter to businesses
Pride symbolises hope for those who still struggle to accept themselves. It gives us the opportunity to celebrate our uniqueness, and it stands to prevent a generation from experiencing the personal shame and prejudice that many LGBTQIA+ individuals have developed and sadly carried for life.
Pride Month also reflects how far we have come as a society and highlights an evolution in corporate values.
There is a common misconception that you must be LGBTQIA+ to be a part of or support the community. However, the truth is that allies are a powerful part of the community.
Allyship means being vocal and proactive, and this applies to individuals and corporations.
Allies can become advocates through the smallest actions. It’s an opportunity for companies to give visibility to LGBTQIA+ identities globally and show support with messages of empathy and inclusion.
Yes, display the flag – however, also demonstrate the values that Pride represents – support, inclusion and equality. It is also a great opportunity to remind everyone that we should treat others with respect and equality every month of the year.
Supporting Pride and inclusion isn’t just a policy or a marketing pitch; it should be intrinsic to the company’s culture. Each company should be committed to creating a fully inclusive environment for LGBTQIA+ people, providing a safe space for them to work.
“LGBTQIA+ people are some of the bravest and most potent change agents and leaders I have encountered, and the most forceful defenders of the vulnerable and voiceless because they know what it’s like to be there.”Ronan Farrow, American journalist.
The importance of feeling belonging
To me, Pride is about being able to be who we are and love who we love with no fear and no prejudice. It is about being authentic and genuine with yourself and others.
When I participated in my first Pride parade, I felt a multitude of emotions. I made myself vulnerable by putting my face in front of so many people, but the love and support that came back were heart-warming and showed how far we had come.
During Pride Month, we should reflect on our successes and continue to march forward for equality.
I’m fortunate to have colleagues who allow me to be myself and bring my best self to work rather than obscuring a part of myself. Last year, I was delighted to have colleagues come to my wedding to celebrate with me.
I dream that everyone can do the same.
Sharing my story is about providing visibility to those still afraid, questioning, or still on a journey that leaves them feeling unsafe.
So next time, consider that everyone you meet may be fighting a harder battle, and kindness can go further than hate or intolerance. Our community faces many issues, but we can bring positive change by coming together.