June marks the month of celebration for the LGBTQ+ community around the world. Hundreds of pride parades are held throughout numerous countries and entire cities are painted in every colour under the sun! At Zoocha, we are proud to celebrate pride month. With 20% of our team identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community, we strive to create a welcoming environment and wholeheartedly celebrate the variety of identities found amongst our team.
History of Pride Month
In the early hours of the 28th of June 1969, the New York police raided Stonewall Inn, a gay club, under the suspicion that alcohol was being sold without a liquor licence. This was not an unusual occurrence at LGBTQ+ friendly bars and clubs during this time period and 13 members of the community including employees were arrested for violating the gender appropriate clothing statute. Contrary to the expected response of fleeing the scene, the LGBTQ+ members had had enough of the homophobic laws and discrimination which had prevented them from living authentically in what should have been their safe space within the city. They stood their ground around the Stonewall Inn, watching as their peers were manhandled by the police.
Within minutes, a full blown riot had begun, involving over 100 people and quickly growing in size; this riot raged on for five days.
The Stonewall Riot of 1969 is widely viewed as the catalyst for LGBTQ+ activism, leading to the creation of countless gay rights organisations, and marking the start of the annual celebration of pride month in June. On its one year anniversary, the very first pride demonstration occurred, and people protested and celebrated by taking to the streets chanting “Say it loud, gay is proud!”. Thus, a tradition was born.
Why do we still need Pride Month?
While the pride movement has successfully aided in the development of inclusivity in a number of countries, bringing joy and freedom to many, discrimination against LGBTQ+ members is still extremely prevalent in the modern world.
Over 70 countries across the world still criminalise LGBTQ+ acts between adults, including 12 countries where the death penalty is regularly imposed.
Even in countries where pride events are allowed and LGBTQ+ rights are supported, the social stigma and risk of violent homophobic and transphobic attacks still have a huge impact on lives, with many members afraid to confide in their own families and local communities upon fear of being discriminated against.
Zoocha aim to support the LGBTQ+ community through allyship, creating and supporting safe spaces that allow people to be themselves without fear of discrimination and violence. Additionally, it is important to spread awareness of the diversity within the LGBTQ+ community, with so many different ways of identifying oneself. Everybody’s identity is different and while positive steps in the support of gay and lesbian rights have been made in the UK and beyond, many individuals within the LGBTQ+ community are still striving for recognition and acceptance. Considerable progress must still be made to encourage protection and inclusion of those who identify as LGBTQ+, despite official laws.
Zoocha are currently in the process of identifying organisations to support through monetary donation as we progress through June and are actively encouraging our team to identify areas where we are able to improve when it comes to maintaining a genuinely welcoming environment for those who identify as LGBTQ+.