Pride – Simply part of CSR or something bigger?
Monday 30 July 2018
Year on year Pride events gain increasing momentum resulting in becoming a bigger and more prominent part of the community and in many cases, one of the largest annual events in the public calendar. This is in stark contrast to as little as 20 years ago when it was still shunned and frowned upon.
A key element as to why this is no longer the case has a lot to do with awareness and understanding. People have been canvasing and marching for years for this exact purpose, to help people realise that everyone is equal and that everyone deserves to be treated the same regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation.
Some questions have arisen over time because of this, a prominent one being ‘why is there gay pride but no ‘straight pride’?’ The answer is simple, there is no straight pride because straight people have not been ridiculed, shunned and de-classed because of who they love in the same manner as LGBTQ+ people. They aren’t belittled and considered ‘less than’ for possessing what is essentially a simple but powerful human emotion.
From a professional business perspective, it is important that companies represent the workforce they employ and by extension support them as best they can. Whether this is by marching in Pride with them, setting up an LGBTQ+ based committee or becoming involved with local LGBTQ+ support organisations. The smallest gesture can really make the biggest difference. People should feel naturally comfortable and relaxed in their workplace without fear of discrimination or judgement about who they are.
According to Stonewall UK statistics, more than a third of LGBTQ+ people (35%) in the workplace continue to hide that they are LGBTQ+ over fear they will be discriminated against. Shockingly 1/10 Asian and minority ethnic LGBT employees (10 per cent) have been physically attacked by customers or colleagues in the last year in what is supposed to be considered a ‘professional environment’. This alone should be enough to highlight the importance of equality in the workplace. (1)
Stonewall UK suggests “On the basis of this report, Stonewall is calling for employers to develop zero-tolerance policies on homophobic, biphobic and transphobic discrimination and harassment, alongside communicating clear routes to report anti-LGBT bullying.” (1)
From an international perspective it gets worse, A quarter of the world’s population believes that being LGBT should be a crime (2) and 72 countries criminalise same-sex relationships (and in 45 the law is applied to women as well as men). (2) I feel this is unacceptable in the 21st century and it should be addressed. There are facts and figures beyond these that illustrate the level that this issue has got to.
One of the best ways to change perception and to push things forward is to have the backing of not only the people but of local and international businesses. This sends a clear message of support to the colleagues, local governments and authorities that they support equality for all. I feel if this isn’t accepted that companies will have the ability to take their business elsewhere where their employees can prosper and progress free from discrimination, which would ultimately impact the economy which is not something that governments and authorities would want.
As founder of our LGBTQ+ based committee, TrU Colours, I fundamentally believe that everyone is equal and that nobody should be judged on their sexual orientation, gender or ethnicity. A workplace where people feel comfortable and confident in themselves leads to excellent staff morale and better productivity. FinTrU operates a no tolerance policy on homophobic, biphobic and transphobic discrimination and harassment. I’m also proud to say we support the Love Equality – Marriage Equality Campaign for Northern Ireland.
I feel extremely lucky to work within a company like FinTrU as the issues and statistics highlighted throughout this article are not the case for us. Our core values are People, Passion, Partnership and Professionalism and they all have something at the heart of them, Pride. We’re recognised as the ‘Best Place to Work’ in Belfast partly because of this and because we look for people with the right attitude and aptitude. We’re extremely happy to be attending Pride for the 2nd year running and have ran multiple events including a pride breakfast and information morning. The goal of this is to better inform staff on what it means to be LGBTQ+ in the workplace and to ensure the company remains the inclusive, forward thinking environment it has always been. We’re set to hold various other LGBTQ+ themed events throughout the year as well because we support our colleagues 100% of the time, not just when it’s easy for us to do so.