June marks the month of Pride! Historically, large celebrations occur globally, but this year things have been a bit different. Although Egress can’t be together in person this Pride, we can still strengthen our culture and have an opportunity to be involved like never before. Egress has chosen to celebrate Pride Month, because this is a topic that not only affects many people worldwide but also some of our colleagues.
Our Pride Committee and Diversity & Belonging Forum have worked together to run a set of virtual activities throughout the month. For our employees, we rolled out special Pride email signatures that include pronouns; changed our logo on internal (and external) platforms; and hosted an organisation-wide presentation on been happening recently, how to be an ally and what's next on the gay agenda. We have also sent out a weekly newsletter focusing on educating our employees and starting important discussions on Pride and related topics.
In addition, Egress has also pledged to donate a total of £5,000 to two charities that support LGBTQ+ youths; BAGLY (the Boston alliance for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer youths, based in Boston, MA) and SAYiT (Sheena Amos Youth Trust, based in Sheffield, UK). This donation will help these charities facilitate and continue to run programmes, especially during this time where smaller charities have been impacted hugely.
Finally, we asked our employees to share what Pride means to them. With their permission, we've shared a selection below.
"I’m proud to work for a company that shows support for Pride and promotes Diversity & Belonging. Today, many Pride events are more of a celebration than a protest but it’s important to learn about and remember the Stonewall riots that took place in 1969 that paved the way for all the Pride events we’ve had since." Linn Foster
"To me, Pride is a time to celebrate and continue the journey towards a world where everyone can live and thrive as their authentic selves." Stephanie Airth
"You probably don’t know all the struggles your friends or colleagues are going through every day. What we can do is be open to hearing what people have to say if they choose to share, and to be understanding and supportive without being judgemental. Listen to personal stories about what it is like to be part of the LGBTQ+ community and ask questions respectfully. Being an ally is not a label, it is an action. Choose to call out anti-LGBTQ+ jokes if you hear them, call people out when they’re being disrespectful. Apologise if you get it wrong, don’t be defensive. We all have a part to play to make sure everyone is treated fairly, despite someone’s gender, race or sexual orientation." Charlotte Murfin
"Pride for me is a celebration of how far we’ve come but also a reminder of how far is still to go. With the oppression and murders of LGBTQ+ people all around the world there is still a fight to be seen as equals and respected. For me, the Pride Parades are more a march and a protest against this inequality many of us still experience to this day and to see everyone come together for this is an encouraging sign that things are changing for the better." Jonathan Jongkind
"As an ally, Pride is important to me as it helps in educating us around the history of Pride and ensures that we are moving forward in equality. It is a time to reflect on the progress that has already been made, but also to acknowledge that there is still so much more to do." Leah Pepper
Beyond June 2021, Egress will continue to create a culture where everyone can feel safe and a sense of belonging. If you would like to know more about what we are doing, you can contact our Diversity and Belonging Forum at firstname.lastname@example.org.