Every year, Pride Month celebrates LGBTQ+ communities around the world. It provides an opportunity to shine a light on the progress made for global LGBTQ+ rights and where work still needs to be done. Many countries celebrate Pride in June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of 1969.
A history of Pride
In 1969, homosexuality was widely illegal across the US, with punishments varying from fines to imprisonment. With discrimination of the LGBTQ+ community so prevalent, gay bars provided brief havens for members to be themselves. However, these bars were still far from safe, as police frequently raided gay bars and arrested customers.
In the early hours of June 28th, 1969, police raided Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Manhattan, New York. After facing discrimination for so long, the patrons were tired of being treated this way. As the police tried to arrest bartenders and customers in the bar, many resisted, and hundreds of people began rioting outside the bar. The group of supporters grew to thousands of people, and the demonstrations carried on until July 1st.
The large-scale rebellion left a major impact on the world and became a catalysing force for LGBTQ+ political activism. The riots sparked the formation of the Gay Liberation Front — the first public group to publicly advocate for equal gay rights. Pride is celebrated in June every year across the world to mark the pivotal moment in history.
Work to be done
While the Stonewall Riots and Pride celebrations are part of the work of LGBTQ+ communities and their allies to bring positive change, discrimination is still widespread. Being LGBTQ+ is still illegal in about 70 countries, with those prosecuted facing prison sentences or worse.
By showing support, companies can play an important role in progressing LGBTQ+ rights. Some companies, for example, include activism in their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.
Yet research suggests more could be done to foster a safe and inclusive workplace culture. A report by University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), found that 46 per cent of US LGBTQ+ workers have experienced unfair treatment at work at some point in their lives. Furthermore, research by UK LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall found that almost one in five LGBTQ+ staff have been the target of negative comments or conduct from work colleagues.
Earlier this year, global engineering company Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Solutions (WMFTS) launched a renewed commitment to diversity and inclusion. The campaign — Everyone is Included — was launched on 1 February by Watson-Marlow’s parent company Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc and contains ten pledges — one of which is to be a safe place for all LGBTQ+ people wherever the company operates.
Through Everyone is Included, Watson-Marlow will become a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ Inclusion. For example, the company has shown support for this year’s Pride, which is particularly special as it marks 50 years of Pride in the UK.
Mai Møllekær, Regional Director EMEA at WMFTS and the company’s Executive Supporter of Pride Month 2022, says: “Working with Spirax-Sarco Engineering, Watson-Marlow’s inclusion commitments are the strong foundations that will allow us to meet our human rights responsibilities. Each of us needs to be active agents of change. We must strive to create work environments where everyone can feel safe and be their true self.”
Gareth Heron, Client Account Manager at UK charity Stonewall commented “LGBTQ+ inclusive employers, like Spirax-Sarco Engineering, play a vital role in changing society for the better by proudly supporting their lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer employees. We’re proud to have supported Spirax-Sarco Engineering with their inclusion journey so that LGBTQ+ staff are free to thrive as themselves at work, in Pride Month and throughout the year.”
For Pride 2022, Watson-Marlow has sponsored Cornwall Pride as a Gold Partner and has placed Pride painted benches at all its UK sites.