Why pride matters: companies should be sharing the message all year round

Why pride matters: companies should be sharing the message all year round

Three quarters of people in the LGBTQ+ community feel they cannot show affection to their partners in public, and businesses need to help change this

Pride’s theme this year is “pride matters”, bringing home the idea that pride is still just as important today as it was at the first march in 1972.

Pride month runs every year globally in June, ending with London Pride on the closest Saturday to the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in 1969.

It originally started as a reaction to discrimination and hate against LGBTQ+ people and has, over the years, slowly become more of a celebration.

However, there is still a serious side and a serious message to pride. People from the LGBTQ+ community still face discrimination every day, in their working and personal lives

In fact, even now in 2018, three quarters of the LGBT community feel that they cannot show affection to their partner in public.

Part of changing global attitudes is big organisations and influencers showing their support and taking action. This is why many businesses have shown their support for Pride in recent years by organising celebrations, activities, workshops, and talks during the month.

However, as pride progresses, questions are arising about how the activism can be taken further. We need to start thinking about different groups within the LGBT community and recognising that they have different experiences, and then address these in the right way.

It is also important that pride recognition does not stop when pride month ends. Pride month should be a trigger for ideas which the continue throughout the year.

LGBTQ+ experiences at work

Accountancy Age attended Stonewall UK’s annual workplace conference 2018, where statistics and stories about LGBT experiences in employment were shared and discussed.

This year’s focus was on transgender equality and the fact that businesses still have a lot to do to put transgender rights on the agenda.

The fact that 12% of transgender people have faced physical abuse at work because of who they are is shocking.

Many transgender people struggle to even get hired, making the rate of unemployment and therefore other problems faced by transgender people much higher than average.

This is simply about education and about communication.

Companies and individuals both need to take responsibility to learn about what transgender people and the whole LGBTQ+ community face in their lives, then do something to tackle it.

Pride in the workplace

Accountancy firms are now doing a lot of work to improve LGBT+ experiences both in and out of the workplace.

KPMG have an LGBT Network which takes action to improve inclusivity for people both in and out of the firm and bringing together both voices and allies to work towards the same common cause. The firm has an array of initiatives throughout the year, such as its recent pronouns day, and it was recently recognised by Stonewall UK as being one of the top workplaces for LGBT equality.

Other members of the Big Four are also using their position to take action for LGBT people.  EY have a similar initiative to KPMG with their LGBT network, called Unity, which campaigns for and supports people around the world. Deloitte’s network is called Globe, which holds events and sets up global initiatives while PwC has a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Partner Advisory Board, with members around the country.

Research shows that when businesses create a better working environment for LGBTQ+ people they actually improve their retention rate, productivity, and employee commitment, and therefore the success of their business.

In turn businesses can become an example for the rest of society and show what needs to be done to improve lives for LGBTQ+ people.

London Pride takes place this weekend, Saturday 7 July, and will see businesses, organisations, friends, and family come together to parade, celebrate showing who you are, and remember why pride came about in the first place.

 

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