Looking back with (virtual) pride

It’s fair to say that Pride celebrations around the world haven’t quite been what anyone really expected this year. But as we head through another month of altered working practices and uncertainty we’ve reflected on how much we were able to do – and it certainly fills us with pride.

RSA’s ‘Building Pride’ group for LGBTQ+ members and allies which was recently relaunched and reinvigorated! We’ve recruited new members and generated fresh ideas about how we can help drive diversity, equality and inclusivity for all. And lockdowns certainly haven’t hampered this enthusiasm and ambition.

While Pride month includes fun and festivities, this year’s celebration brought complexity and challenges. Alongside our current way of living, we also saw protests for the Black Lives Matter movement and we are particularly proud to be one of few companies to show solidarity and represent people of colour in the LGBTQ+ community by using the eight-colour pride logo on our social channels.

Pride without barriers

We started to wonder if 2020’s Pride would be a year without any particular focus or activity. But not at RSA, and the idea of the Virtual Pride March was born! We wanted to continue the worldwide tradition and march for equality, progress and achievements within the community which was critically important to us given the world is in crisis. And we had no shortage of colleagues eager to show it was more important than ever to don the rainbows and use our voices! We were blown away by the response to our call to action to get involved and stand up for our Virtual Pride march – the outcome of which was a hugely entertaining video showcasing our colleagues in the UK and Ireland waving the rainbows and having a blast!

Continuing the momentum

Since our virtual march last month, people have spoken of their surprise we haven’t done this before and are already keen to be involved in the next one. That tells us that people get it! They understand what inclusion feels and looks like, if only in a short rainbow infused video, and that’s what we set out to achieve. But they also realise it’s not “job done” and we need to do more. Celebrate what we’ve achieved, as we do in the LGBT+ community and with our allies, but continue the momentum we’ve created so we get ever closer to equality, respect and acceptance for all, no matter what you identify as, who you love or what colour you come in.

We have found that in any of the work we do with ‘Building Pride’ we always come to the same conclusion - if you can tap into the incredible value that people bring just by the very nature of them being ‘different’ then you’re onto a winner.

There’s endless research on the success of diverse teams working for inclusive organisations, but to us it’s more fundamental than that. Everyone’s difference as an individual is the collateral you need, and something nobody else has. Use it wisely, but with confidence and pride!