I feel conflicted about Pride.
Let me rephrase that: I feel conflicted about the commercialization of Pride.
Pride can have different meanings for different people, and naturally those meanings can change or fluctuate over time as well. For me right now, Pride is both a reminder of the hard battles that are still being fought and a joyous celebration of equality and love. While it is important to take note of how far we’ve come, it is equally important to shine a light on the work that is still ahead.
This dichotomy is present also in how I personally relate to Pride. On the other hand: yeah, I am proud! And on the other: I’m also in a position where my minority status isn’t apparent on the outside. I get to choose with whom I share this side of myself. Not everybody has that choice, which brings me to my first point: never assume. Never assume anyone’s sexuality or gender. This goes as a neat general rule of life: never assume about anyone’s mental or physical health, personal life, relations, professional competence, etc., no matter what it looks like for you.
That’s all well and good for individuals, but what about that commercialization then?
What I’d like to see is for companies acknowledging Pride to take it up a notch. Surely you can do more than make your company logo rainbow for June. Check yourself especially if you’re using Pride flags or Pride “branded” merchandise to boost your visibility or sales. Are you directing a part of or even all the proceeds to e.g., an organization working to advance LGBT+ rights?
Take a look at your company values and your equality and diversity plan. Are they up to date? Does the company act accordingly? Does the work community act accordingly? The company might also seek out and contribute or donate to causes and NPOs working for and with minorities. Think of ways to create more safe, non-discriminatory spaces and policies. Act on those and spread the message – not because it’s good marketing, but because it’s what we as human beings should do unto another.
Flying a rainbow logo is not wrong, it is a great way to show your support. But in addition to that I’d like to see those values supported in other ways as well – not just this week, not just this month, but all year round. People who celebrate Pride as a part of the community don’t get to turn their minority status off for the remainder of the year. No one should have to justify their existence or their right to live a life that looks like them. My second point: educate yourself and keep an open mind.
Gofore is committed to being a good workplace for everyone, which naturally includes people from all kinds of backgrounds and with varied life experiences. It is the cornerstone of our company values and puts a great emphasis for equality and diversity work. Gofore is also part of the Responsible Employer (Vastuullinen työnantaja) campaign, which promotes e.g., non-discrimination, work-life balance, and meaningful work for everyone. Of course, there is always more work to be done, and I hope to see Gofore as a company – and other companies likewise – take the work even further and make it more visible, both within and outside the company.
Final point: Be kind.
Happy Pride – not just this month, not just this week, but all year round.