NCC Conversations: What does Pride mean to you?
Throughout June, we’ve been discussing and exploring LGBTQIA+ Pride, as part of our NCC Conversations series and our ongoing commitment to inclusion and diversity.
This month, our focus on Pride as a protest rather than as a corporate celebration was led by our LGBTQIA+ Steering Committee and included talks from industry professionals, articles based on personal experiences, guidance on how you can support the community as an ally and much more, that built on previous conversations hosted by the Committee.
We changed our logo across our social channels to support Pride and represent the commitment we have made to make NCC Group a place where our LGBTQIA+ colleagues feel psychologically, emotionally and physically safe to be themselves.
This year we chose “two steps forward, one step back” as our overall theme for the month, to reflect that while there has been very real steps forward since Stonewall in 1969, there are definite areas in which equality for members of the community is not a reality.
Here are just a few examples from colleagues around the Group sharing what Pride means to them and what they feel it has been important to talk about this Pride month.
Pride means successfully fighting for increased rights, acceptance and visibility
“It’s easy to see the marches, rainbows, logo changes and adverts that come around every June and view the Pride movement as one big party – but the truth is that the Pride movement is at its base a queer act of rebellion born from the 1969 Stonewall Riots and solidified by the New York Pride March in 1970. These events, following decades of oppression and hatred, have since been followed by decades of successfully fighting for increased rights, acceptance, and visibility.
While it’s important to remember that the world is still a very dangerous place for queer people, it is also a much more accepting and supportive one than it was during the riots. We still have a lot of work to do, but it’s vital that we reflect and celebrate each and every step made towards inclusivity.”
Pride means protest
“While there is a lot to celebrate regarding LGBTQIA+ issues and rights, there is still a lot to do and to push back against.
“For example, the erasure of intersex people and how it can result in unnecessary medical interventions on babies. How LGBTQIA+ rights are used by those in power as systems of control and as a symbol of western interference. The disproportionate rate at which LGBTQIA+ youth become homeless or live in poverty. More tangibly, people who have had to leave their abusive family because they could not handle staying there any longer. As well as the many, sometimes hidden issues, issues that can arise when trying to keep a home, a job, or how many places do not consider how being LGBTQIA+ can be a factor to account for when granting asylum.
“Pride is a protest! LGBTQIA+ people exist and often face unique challenges. Pride is also a time for the community to celebrate our differences in defiance of those voices that aim to discourage and erase.”
Pride means being your whole self
“Holding a part of yourself locked away is exhausting. It can take a serious toll on your mental health. Not being your whole, authentic self robs you of something. It’s tiring; taking up your energy and your happiness. But when I am fully open with people who accept me and support me, I am at my best.
“And perhaps the more important reason: I should be allowed to be myself. No one asks if a straight, cisgender person should be allowed to be fully themselves and talk about their life in the workplace. We shouldn’t have to worry that even just an anecdote could open us up to homophobia, harassment, bullying, job insecurity, or even violence.”
Pride means loving without fear
“When I developed feelings for someone that were forbidden in “our world” I knew that people wouldn’t understand it or accept it, and it just could never be...so… sadly… we let each other go.
“It became too much to hide or carry any longer. The speculation or paranoia was already present… and so for a whole year we were on opposite sides of the world separated from our feelings for each other. That year was a year of deep sadness, reflection, discovery and, in some ways, empowerment.
“But we found each other again, and through years of hurdles, challenges, hiding or avoiding at all costs, public gestures of affection and against all the odds, we got there!
“Pride to me means, being your whole self, loving your whole self, and being free to love whoever you want to love... why? Because in the end...Love Wins.”
Pride means fighting for LGBTQIA+ rights
“This month, our NCC Conversations series focused on the LGBTQIA+ community, a non-homogeneous mix of people with different ideals, experiences and backgrounds fighting for equality and acceptance in society.
“It can be easy to look at Pride Month and have the takeaway be that it is a celebration. Our discussions focused on two perspectives, Two Steps Forward – looking at the global positive direction – and One Step Back, which sought to provide some context and perspective of just how far we still have to go. While there has been a general trend toward increased acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community worldwide, it is far from permanently established and in some places is regressing. Therefore, we implore you to be a great ally and fight for LGBTQIA+ rights.”
We want NCC Group to be an environment where all colleagues feel psychologically, emotionally and physically safe to be authentic, representative of the diversity of the world they live in, share their personal experiences and have equal opportunity to achieve.
Through our NCC Conversations series we are opening up the dialogue and putting colleagues at the heart of our conversations and actions.