Celebrating LGBT+ 2021 history month

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Our Pride (LGBTQIA+) network sponsors, Paul Moore & Sarah Girling tell us why LGBTQIA+ history month is important. This month we will reflect on the past, celebrate how far we have come, and recognise what we can do to reach total equality.

So, why are we celebrating it at LV= GI?

Sue Sanders, co-founder of LGBT history month says “It’s a fabulous opportunity for people to celebrate all the diverse experiences of LGBTQIA+ people, to discover what they’ve done in the past, to celebrate what’s happening now and create a future”.

Paul, one of our Pride Network Sponsors says “For me, it matters because so much has changed, but there’s still so much more to do. I grew up in a small village where there were no visible LBGTQIA+ people. School was a tough experience and I was bullied badly. At the time I didn't even know why or understand it, though it soon became clear it was because of being gay, even though I wasn't sure of it myself.

Bullying is of course common for lots of children in school, but it was made worse as nothing was done to help. There was a law in place until 2003 which prevented schools even discussing homosexually, which had a huge influence and affected any talk of LGBTQIA+.  

I enjoy my life now, have a great range of friends and some brilliant experiences, But I’ve still had challenges to deal with directly connected to being part of the LGBT community. I’ve been punched on the street walking next to my partner, and held against a wall at a previous job when something didn’t go the way someone wanted, with homophobic abuse shouted in my face. So things aren’t perfect just yet.

I’m also aware that, had I lived just a few years before it could have been much worse. Homosexuality was only decriminalised in this country a generation ago, with some horrible examples of persecution and treatment before then and since.”

LGBT+ 2021. History Month. Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans.

Things have moved on since then…

To raise awareness of what the LGBTQIA+ community experiences, there are several notable dates each year, including:

  • International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) on 17 May each year
  • Intersex Awareness Day on 26 October
  • Trans Awareness Week 13-19 November ending with Trans Day of Remembrance. 

There are also lots of other action and efforts, such as employment rights based on sexual orientation, the Gender Recognition Act (2004) , registering of hate crimes based on sexual orientation (2005), or being transgender (2012) and there’s now the option to have a civil partnership or get married. 

So, everything’s alright, then? No, there’s a still a long way to go:

  • 45% of LGBT pupils are bullied at school
  • 64% of trans pupils are bullied at school
  • 70% of young lesbian, gay and bi people have thought about taking their own life
  • 92% of young trans people have thought about taking their own life
  • 1 in 3 employers say they’re ‘less likely’ to employ a trans person
  • 35% of LGBT people have hidden that they are LGBT at work 
  • 38% of Bi people have never come out to anyone at their workplace 
  • 51% of B.A.M.E within the LGBT community have faced discrimination based on their ethnicity from within the LGBT community 

Sarah says, “the past events and societal views since the 1980s had changed for the positive, however in some areas we now see a resurgence of that same homophobia reused against the transgender community. It’s a strange phenomenon that people don’t like other people, because they’re different, and something that we continue to educate and advocate against. That’s why our Pride Network for LV= GI is so important to our friends and colleagues.”

 

That’s why we as employers have work to do...

Paul says, “As an employee and network Sponsor, I’m delighted that LV=’s Diversity and Inclusion programme includes action to create change and support for the LGBT+ community."

Our new Networks launch this month, and within that is ‘Pride’, our LGBT group. I’m honoured to be sponsoring this along with Sarah Girling and we already have lots of things underway. We’re focussing on raising awareness, and educating people about LGBTQIA+ topics, with a focus on senior leaders and working with our HR team to implement policy and benefit changes. We’re creating a safe, open, supportive and welcoming space for LGBTQIA+ colleagues and allies and we’ll use the group as a platform for people to have a voice, to reach-out for feedback within the business, and as an escalation point.

To recognise the month, we’re hosting a webinar on the 16th February for our people and leaders. LGBT History month gives us the chance to look back at the good (and the bad) of the past, and plan for our future within the community. It’s important we celebrate it and I’m proud that LV= GI is supporting this. 

[sources: Stonewall and LGBT Foundation]

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