We are approaching the end of June, and at least until this last weekend, we have happily marked another year of Pride celebrations to support diversity and inclusion in our society and workplaces.
Personally, I am not a big fan of Valentine’s Day, Mothers Day or Fathers Day. Not because I don’t think partners or parents don't deserve recognition, but because I feel these days are constructs, and also setting higher expectations only for the 1 out of 365 days. If I bring flowers home on mothers day, it will be «just as expected». Any other day in the year, it would be a lovely surprise and have higher value.
Some might say the Pride month, and also the Pride day on June 27, are constructs. Most of us do mark our support during the Pride month without thinking too much about it. And many companies, like Xait, change their logo by adding rainbow colors to them. Some call this rainbow washing, implying that those who do this just appear to be supportive during Pride month, but don’t actually live by these values the other 11 months of the year.
So what does Pride mean for Xait and do we really mean it?
The short answer is that Pride is truly important and YES, we really mean it! I actually think Pride is about more than just accepting and respecting LGBTQ+, and it is also more than just remembering The Stonewall riots in 1969 in the US which changed gay rights for a lot of people in America and around the world. For me, Pride is about embracing diversity! I think we should work harder every day to have a more diverse workforce. I believe we get the most progress from bringing together people with different backgrounds, opinions, genders and sexuality. By being respectful, but open to challenge and being challenged, we can harvest new ideas and create solutions that benefit us and our customers. This is important not only in June, but throughout the year!
So do we need to mark and celebrate Pride month and Pride day or should we rather mark this support every day?
I think we need to do both! Over the weekend here in Norway, 2 people were shot dead and 21 seriously injured in what is currently suspected to be hate crime towards the LGBTQ+ community, who were celebrating Pride month in a pub in Oslo. This terrible incident highlights the fact that we still have a way to go before we can all safely express who we are, who we love and what we believe in. We therefore still need the Pride month and Pride day. In addition to examples of hate crimes and other incidents creating fear in the LGBTQ+ community, other more systemic inequalities are also troubling. In the US today, 22% of LGBT people live in poverty compared to 16% of the straight population (https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/publications/lgbt-poverty-us/). In 68 countries homosexuality is still illegal (https://amnesty.no/lhbt). And back here in Norway, a larger percentage of LGBTQ+ people compared to the rest of the population struggle with mental health and financial well being (https://www.ssb.no/sosiale-forhold-og-kriminalitet/artikler-og-publikasjoner/1-av-3-skeive-lite-tilfreds-med-egen-psykisk-helse). This means that we every day, not just during Pride month, should look at how we can help change this for the better.
In Xait, we often use the hashtags #beyourxaitingself and #onexait. I think both of them fit really well this Pride month and Pride day. Let us embrace and respect who we are, who we love and what we believe in, and at the same time acknowledge that we are all human and should have the same rights and the same opportunities to live a good and safe life.