It has been more than half a century since the Stonewall riots and yet across the world, members of the LGBTQ+ community are still fighting for equality. 28th June marks the anniversary of the riots beginning and in recognition, June is Pride Month. This is a time to reflect on how far we have come but also on what more we can do.
Across the world and in our own hometowns and cities, inequality remains. It is represented across the media, in unconscious workplace decisions, and in healthcare where LGBTQ+ individuals face inequalities in terms of access to services, clinical outcomes and experience.
For those outside the LGBTQ+ community, it can be hard to recognise deeply ingrained or systemic challenges. From introducing gender neutral toilets to sharing pronouns in email signatures so those commonly misgendered don’t need to go through the exhausting process of continually correcting people, changes are being made by those organisations going out of their way to better understand. Small changes can make a huge difference.
Why celebrate pride?
Many companies come under scrutiny – fairly – for what is seen as tokenism when is comes to celebrating awareness issues such as Pride. Changing your logo to include a rainbow for a month achieves nothing but boosting company image. But that certainly doesn’t mean that your organisation shouldn’t acknowledge and celebrate Pride.
Awareness dates are an opportunity to develop a more inclusive company culture, something we strive for at Magenta. A workplace event could be used to raise money for an LGBTQ+ friendly charity. Educational material and policies can also be shared or re-shared with employees. Such work creates an atmosphere in which people can feel more confident being themselves.
Finally, celebrate pride because you can. Recent years have brought a concerning increase in far-right or openly homophobic politics around the globe. There are many countries in which being queer is still illegal and others where it is socially unacceptable. In 2013, members of the LGBTQ+ community marched “for those who can’t”, showing solidarity with others around the world. For those of us able to be ourselves without fear, Pride is a celebration, and it is an opportunity to bring people together and have fun.
Afterall, Stonewall was a riot!