June is celebrated as Pride month throughout the world to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. The Stonewall Uprising was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. In most nations across the world June soon grew to encompass a month-long series of events. Today, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia and concerts, and LGBTQ Pride Month events attract millions of participants around the world. The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.
This year was a little different as most of us couldn’t go out for parades or to celebrate due to the global pandemic we’re going through. However, many online events, talks, and virtual meetings were held to celebrate #Pridemonth. And it was so lovely to see so much advocacy and support for the LGBTQIA+ community this month. And that is what got me thinking if we can all call ourselves a true ally? I mean yeah from anyone to everyone is calling themselves one but are we one truly?
You must have noticed a trend in which some of the biggest brands turned their logos into the colors of the pride flag! While it was overwhelming to see that, it also felt like a desperate attempt at being ‘woke’ or ‘’inclusive’ without actually practicing it.
It’s great that your logo changed colors but were your company policies also amended to make room for the LGBTQIA+ people? Does your office/ corporate house host regular Gender Sensitization Workshops? Are your employees taught gender ethics? Do you have an Internal Complaints Committee (as regulated under the POSH- Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Work Guidelines) at work? There were capsule collections launched by brands to celebrate Pride month but sadly no effort was made to give space or include LGBTQIA+ models or people in those campaigns! So will you call this being inclusive or desperately trying to sell products while monetizing on an idea?
It’s time we think of 'ally' as an action rather than a label. It is easy to call yourself an ally, but the label alone isn't enough. Oppression doesn't take breaks. To be an effective ally you need to be willing to be consistent in your support of LGBTQIA+ rights and defend LGBTQIA+ people against discrimination. Anti-LGBTQIA+ comments and jokes are harmful - let your friends, family and co-workers know that as an ally you find them offensive. If your office, institution, university or even school want to celebrate Pride month, that’s great but do ask them if they are willing to celebrate Pride in practice too? It takes all members of society to make true acceptance and respect happen, so let’s get to it.