It's Pride month, and we extend our full support to our LGBTQ+ colleagues and clients across the world. To mark the occasion, we have again adopted the Pride flag in our branding on social media and we are hosting a Pride panel event on 27 June in London (see below for more details).
There is of course much to celebrate, but it has never been more important to champion equality and inclusion for all, at work and in all areas of society. While much has been achieved, sadly there are still many incidents of discrimination, hostility and violence against LGBTQ+ individuals and families. Only last week in London, a lesbian couple were viciously attacked on a bus after they refused to share a kiss upon request. It is absolutely appalling that such incidents remain common, and in a city that is celebrated for its diversity and accepting culture.
According to a recent Stonewall report, 1 in 5 LGBT staff are reported to have been the target of negative comments from colleagues in the past year, and more than a third of LGBT staff have hidden they are LGBT at work for fear of discrimination.
Thankfully, we see more and more businesses recognising the value of a diverse workforce and more household brands are taking part in Pride celebrations across the world. This is certainly contributing to a positive shift in society, but unfortunately we must recognise that this remains something of a bubble. Being openly gay remains criminalised in many countries, and there are extreme movements across the US and Europe which may threaten the hard fought values of the LGBTQ+ community and its allies.
Our Pride message says that we stand firm with the LGBTQ+ community to promote equality. We believe that all businesses should strive to provide a working environment and culture in which all can flourish, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, race, disability, age, religious beliefs, or social background. With this in mind, we are hosting a panel debate on LGBTQ+ diversity and business culture on 27 June 2019. Clients and colleagues with wide ranging expertise and experience will discuss what has been achieved, and what we now need from our working environments.
Last week, The Lawyer featured an article by Ashley Williams, an active member of our LGBTQ+ network group who shares his 'My Pride Story'. It is refreshing to read such a positive coming out story, which is perhaps a reflection of just how far we have come. Read it here.
Happy Pride everyone.