Last year around this time, the Pride Employee Resource Group celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riot and how Pride has always been more than a parade. We used this historical event as a reference to shed light on how Pride Month allows the LGBTQ+ community and our allies, to find connection, visibility, validation, and rejuvenation during June. We historically have found ourselves participating in celebrations, community outreach, service, and increased media opportunities to inform, advocate, and raise concerns of the long list of work that still needs to be done in order for our community to experience the same joys of life and civil rights that many still do not have or realize. Although this year looks differently with canceled or postponed events, it’s more clear than ever that PRIDE IS MORE THAN A PARADE.
The LGBTQ+ community in a virtual world
As news unfolded about COVID-19, many of us found ourselves feeling unexplained isolation, fear or anxiety. For our community, however, this created new concerns of how we would stay connected. Many of us are dependent on the community for support, connection, and being in the company of the family we have chosen as we may not have the same support from our biological families. Many found themselves without the ability to get that hug, or share a laugh or meal; essential roots of belonging.
“While we can’t celebrate with each other in real life, that energy will still be in the ether as we celebrate virtually. I’m looking forward to connecting with my chosen family,” said Abigail Braceros. “It’s a radical act to celebrate our love and joy right now and the timing is much needed.”
In addition, individuals who have survived and navigated the stigma still associated with HIV/AIDS are hearing their names called out again as individuals of concern, and in early health-related conversations, more likely to contract COVID-19 if exposed. Folks within our trans community were having to scramble to ensure they would have access to necessary medications and treatments to remain healthy.
When the ability to connect with one another face to face changed, (Pride parades and celebrations), we rose to the occasion and reimagined how to stay connected as a community, and ERG, in a virtual world. Not only did we implement wellness checks through our employee messaging platform, our team came together and created offerings in four categories: Education/Awareness, Safe spaces for conversations, Physical/Creative Activities, and Entertainment.
- Education: A Q&A with family and parents of Transgender youth – exploring the challenges, revelations and joys of parenthood, a panel of legal experts will discuss the implications of the two LGBTQ employment discrimination cases that the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on in June.
- Speaking: Following the George Floyd death and new LGBTQ legistlations, we are holding space for an open and honest conversation about the world we once knew, and the world we’re now living in.
- Activities: A virtual solidarity walk commemorating the Black Lives Matter movement and the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, mindfulness and paint night sessions
- Entertainment: Launched our Simply Social weekly virtual gathering times at a global scale for our community to have a safe space to come togetherWe gave stressed out parents that are managing home childcare an hour or so to step away to decompress, exhale and delight in the joy of watching their children be entertained during our Drag Storytime.
“The current situation and the pain that we are all going through has given an opportunity for the world to realize that we humans have more similarities than differences,” said Karanbir Singh Chhabra. “Businesses are now realizing that inclusion is no longer a differentiator but a necessity for business continuity. Pride month this year to me is an opportunity to learn to be more empathetic towards others.”
Pride Month with the Intuit Pride ERG
While we’ve made progress and have many things to celebrate this year like the U.S. Supreme Court ruling protection from discrimination based on sex for LGBTQ+ employees, let’s acknowledge where we currently are and what our community is still up against as we move into Pride 2020.
- In 12 countries, homosexuality is punishable by death
- In 15 countries, gender identity (transgender/non-binary) is criminalized
- In 75 countries, homosexuality is criminalized
- In 12 states, sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination is NOT prohibited in public and private employment
- In a national study 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt. 92% of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25
- The transgender unemployment rate remains more than three times that of the national average
- Since the beginning of this calendar year, 15 states have presented legislation that would prohibit healthcare for transgender youth. 17 states have presented legislation excluding transgender youth from athletics. 11 states have presented anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that allows discrimination based on religious beliefs (including denial of basic healthcare, adoption and foster care, and student organizations within schools).
- Sadly, the state of Idaho signed into law a bill that bans gender changes on birth certificates issued in that state as well as a bill that prohibits trans girls being allowed to participate in girls’ sports.
Celebrating beyond Pride Month
On the heels of the monumental success of our first Trans Summit, we have already started planning our next Trans Summit. We are ecstatic to continue our partnership with the GenderCool project, as we work to build a greater understanding of what the transgender community experiences everyday. In addition, we are working with GenderCool to roll out our first mentorship program for Intuit parents with transgender or non-binary children.
We are also reinvigorating our partnership with Lesbians Who Tech, who champion the voice of all women and have stepped back from their place of privilege by allowing the female voices of our transgender and people of color communities to step the forefront of their mission. Lastly, we’ll continue to work very closely with our Intuit D&I leaders as we continue to build teams that reflect and respect the richness of life experiences, demographics, choices and backgrounds of our customers.
It takes a village to drive change and we are grateful to be able to share our stories, successes, and concerns as we recognize World Pride Month 2020. What a great time to be working for an organization that sees us, validates us and celebrates with us. Not only are we powering prosperity for our customers around the globe, we affirm that here at Intuit, we belong.
Happy Pride, All.
Global Pride Co-Chair