The march has been cancelled due to COVID-19, but there are still plenty of ways to show support. We discuss how you can support LGBTQ+ friends and colleagues during Pride in London and throughout the rest of the year
September 2021 should mark the 49th celebration of Pride in London, but alas, as in 2020, the event has been cancelled as a result of the ever-changing COVID-19 situation. Marching in the parade may not be possible, but there are still plenty of ways to show your support for the LGBTQ+ community.
Pride is about acceptance, equality, recognising the work of LGBTQ+ people, understanding history, and raising awareness about the biggest issues currently facing the community.
There is still a lot of work to do in order to achieve equality and people need to keep fighting for the rights of LGBTQ+ people around the world, including in the UK.
Whether making a commitment to support the community personally, or as a charity, or as an employer – or all three – it is important that words are backed up with actions.
Organisations should be committed to embedding inclusiveness in all areas, for donors, service users, and employees alike, and ensuring their charity is a safe space for people to bring their whole selves to.
In this article, we want to explore some of the ways that charities can champion LGBTQ+ people and make sure they match their words with their actions.
Be visible in your support. Show your pronouns in email signatures and on lanyards, share relevant articles and links to petitions that could action change, call out homophobia and make it clear that it is never acceptable.
Think about the way your organisation uses language. Make policies gender neutral by using terms like partner or family leave, as opposed to maternity or paternity leave. Similarly, apply this to roles within the organisation too – for instance, chairman/chairwoman should become chairperson.
When it comes to the imagery your organisation uses, stay inclusive. If looking for images of family units, for example, consider the different experiences under that description, including LGBTQ+ parents.
Take time as an organisation or as an individual to educate yourself on LGBTQ+ history and current issues. Recognise that it is not just the L and the G in LGBTQ+ that matters – speak to people from the community and try to understand its diversity.
Remember that small changes make a big difference. If your organisation has a book club, for instance, you could choose one that deals with LGBTQ+ themes and characters.
Penguin Random House has helpfully compiled an ultimate list of books fitting for Pride month (or any month, for that matter). Or perhaps you could hold a Lunch&Learn session around LGBTQ+ issues.
If you’re an ally, be an ally. While providing support for employee-led network groups is important, and a great thing to do, try not to rely on them alone to push forward change.
Give those groups the space and consult them on changes that affect them, but also recognise that we all have voices that can speak up in support of LGBTQ+ issues.
While it is necessary to make sure LGBTQ+ voices are heard, and that they have the space to do that, it is also important that changes are led from all areas of the organisation.
Relying on individual LGBTQ+ employees especially to constantly advise on LGBTQ+ policy or to broadcast this can be tiring – it is on everyone to ensure that the workplace is inclusive, and everyone must take ownership of that task.
Charities are well aware of how crucial fundraising is to their ability to continue delivering their services to those who need them.
As well as donating to the well-known charities, make sure to look for local grassroots LGBTQ+ charities who might need your help, too.
For example, UK Black Pride is a grassroots movement supporting LGBTQ+ people of colour, while London Friend is a medium-sized charity offering counselling and mental health support for people in the LGBTQ+ community.
As well as Stonewall, other LGBTQ+ focused charities include the Albert Kennedy Trust, an organisation that supports LGBTQ+ young people aged 16–25 in the UK who are facing or experiencing homelessness or living in a hostile environment, and Gendered Intelligence, which works to increase understandings of gender diversity and improve trans people’s quality of life.
There are many more charities and movements worth donating to that support LGBTQ+ people. And there are many more actions we can take as organisations and individuals to embed that support closer to home. We may not be able to march in 2021, but that isn’t the only way we can embody Pride.