Leading the way channel organisations promote a culture of diversity and inclusion
It’s June, which means it’s Pride month!
So, what is Pride? Pride is a celebration of diversity and an opportunity to raise awareness of the fight for equal rights for the LGBTQIA+ community. In case you don’t know, LGBTQIA+ is the acronym which is used to describe a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It stands for: L: Lesbian, G: Gay, B: Bisexual, T: Trans, Q: Queer/Questioning, I: Intersex, A: Asexual/Aromantic and lastly, the + represents the other gender identities and sexual orientations that are not within the lettered acronym, such as, Pansexual.
Diversity in Tech UK reported that a third of LGBTQ+ people avoid careers in science, technology and engineering due to worries of discrimination and bullying. It’s important for all companies, but specifically those with less diverse communities, to do what they can to support LGBTQIA+, and other minorities. Inclusivity at work doesn’t only create a better working environment, it also directly benefits business. Happier employees who feel appreciated perform better, prove to be more productive and are less likely to leave.
We spoke to Daniel Evans, Sales Lead at Distology and Chair of the Distology Pride Network. He shared the Distology Pride statement and purpose:
“The Distology Pride Network has been designed to support, champion, and discuss LGBT+ topics within our organisation and in the wider channel network.
It is key for us to promote our diversity and support other organisations to do so too. We aim to make a positive impact with any project we partake in and inspire others in the channel to get involved.
By running and attending events, charity days, partner engagements and working with our vendors; we can increase awareness of our pride network and aim to be at the forefront of diversity in the channel”
Distology Cupcakes at 2022 Pride Event
The team of 5 who run the Distology Pride Network ensure that there is a culture of support and inclusivity which is also projected onto vendors and partners. Daniel said, “The Distology Pride Network was set up in June 2022. Networks like SHI’s and ours keep LGBTQIA+ people in tech connected and play a crucial role in advancing equality industrywide. Our team meet monthly to have important discussions which ensure that everyone is supported. These discussions, with the help of HR, have led to an inclusive Distology office culture. We are working on more projects to help support the LGBTQIA+ people within the channel and the wider Stockport community.”
Distology’s Pride Network celebrating Pride in 2022
Anna Wesley, International Partner Alliance Manager at our valued partner SHI, and member of EMBRACE and WiSH ERG, told us that SHI have an employee resource group named EMBRACE. Their mission is:
“To support the LGBTQ+ community and allies to find and be the truest, best version of ourselves. We intend to do this through mindful knowledge sharing, community-based resources, inclusive events, and programming”
SHI’s EMBRACE Pride flag
Anna said, “As an active member of EMBRACE, I am honoured to work with some super supportive individuals from our global community. I have been able to represent and empower our LGBTQIA+ community and allies to ensure we collaborate and celebrate the diversity of people across our business. We foster a safe environment for our community to connect, advocate and educate. We continue to strive for progress, and it is thanks to our supportive allies that allow us all to assimilate and be who we are without fear or judgement.” Allyship can be defined as, a lifelong process of building relationships based on trust, consistency, and accountability with marginalised individuals and/or groups of people.
Jennie Ambidge, International Senior Partner Alliance Manager at SHI and member of EMBRACE, Black Culture Collective, WiSH and Juntos Latinx & Hispanic ERG, gave us her take on the importance of allyship. She said, “such few words to describe an individual responsibility that is larger than the person or a group – it needs to define how you approach your life; form part of your unique DNA. From all dimensions – personal, work, relationships, friendships and interactions with others should all be based in the same sentiment; one of open-mindedness and willingness to listen, learn and adapt. Our world is now a kaleidoscope and no matter what facet, colour or alignment we have – together we create the best we can be.”
Cakes from SHI’s EMBRACE Pride events
For anyone that is unaware of the history of Pride, it wasn’t always celebrated the way it is today. We have come a long way, but it’s critical for us to continue to raise awareness, build communities, and ultimately, to encourage more change.
Read on to learn more about the history of pride in the UK:
1969 - A series of demonstrations in New York called the Stonewall Uprising started after the police raided a bar called the Stonewall Inn, which was a popular place for LGBTQIA+ people to hang out. It is considered to be the start of the movement of LGBTQIA+ people fighting for equal rights in the US.
1972 - The first Pride festival, which celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community and supports equal rights, took place in London on 1 July. 2,000 people took part.
1988 - A law called Section 28 was introduced by the UK government which meant that teachers were not allowed to ‘promote’ LGBTQIA+ relationships in schools. Many people argued that this prevented teachers from talking about LGBTQIA+ relationships.
1991 – Belfast’s first Pride took place, for which about 100 people with helium balloons attended a Pride parade, having to keep their route a secret to avoid protestors.
1992 – London hosted ‘Europride’, attended by 100,000 people and described by the local news as ‘the lesbian and gay event of the decade’.
2000 - A law was changed which allowed gay, bisexual and transgender people to be in the armed forces.
2002 - A law was changed to allow same sex couples (and unmarried couples) to adopt children.
2003 in England and Wales and 2000 in Scotland - The ban on ‘promoting’ homosexuality in schools (Section 28) was overturned.
2004 - This year marked the start of civil partnerships for same sex couples. This meant that they had similar rights to people who were married, but civil partnerships are not exactly the same as marriage. Some people did not think it was good enough and that LGBTQIA+ people should be allowed to get married.
2008 - It became illegal to encourage homophobic hatred.
2013 - Same-Sex marriage was made legal in England and Wales, and later in 2014 in Scotland.
2019 – Same-sex marriage became legal in Northern Ireland.
Now – There are over 130 Pride celebrations across the UK, the biggest being London Pride which attracts about 1.5 million people, in addition to other Pride events world-wide.
If you’d like to learn more about Embrace at SHI, you can watch this video on their #pathtopride.