BLOG: Why is celebrating Pride still important in 2020?

Jess Readett, Graduate Communications Officer at L&Q

Pride is a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community, but it is so much more than just a parade. Behind the rainbows and dancing lies the struggle against oppression and fight for a more equal world.

The cancelling of Pride parades across the country has understandably brought sadness, but it has also given us the chance to refocus and think about why celebrating Pride really matters.

That’s why I created the ‘Faces of Pride’ campaign at L&Q – a series of profiles from staff members across the business, each sharing what Pride means to them.

In many ways it has been a celebration of our organisation being a place where people can bring their whole selves to work – where they can share their experiences freely and with pride.

Bev Johnson, Caretaking Services Manager at L&Q, was one of the colleagues who shared her story with me. She said, “As a gay woman who had to leave a career I loved because of my sexuality, I know there is still discrimination in many industries and communities. That’s why it’s important for me to be ‘Out and Proud’, to challenge ignorance and celebrate Pride.”

Our LGBTQ+ staff network, Spectrum, also shared their thoughts. Co-Chair Jo Peres said, “Until the day comes when all our family is equal, Pride will always be important. It is a demonstration of where it all began and how our beautiful rainbow community fights on.”

Sadly, the world is far from equal. Being gay is still illegal in 70 countries and in 12 of these punishable by death. It’s a reminder that while my workplace and the industry may feel inclusive, this is not a reflection of the wider world.

‘Faces of Pride’ shared many stories of progress that are a cause for celebration, but also experiences of pain and hurt that we must remember and learn from. Together, these experiences and lessons for the future help to explain why celebrating Pride is still important.

David Montague, Chief Executive of L&Q, summed it up best when he said, “We must celebrates the past, give courage to the present, and hope for the future.”