In 1969, New York police raided the Stonewall Inn in NYC for violation of liquor laws and a connection to organised crime, but also as part of a continuing campaign of harassment against the LGBTQ+ community that made up the Stonewall Inn’s staff and customers. The series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations that followed, led by trans women of colour, became a pivotal moment in LGBTQ+ history, directly resulting in key activist groups and events that would become the modern day Pride movement.
SN Pride was launched in 2018 as a network for LGBTQ+ people and allies at Springer Nature. Our network exists to support and build a community for Springer Nature employees that identify as LGBTQ+ and to advocate for those whose voices aren’t always heard. This is important both within Springer Nature and in the diverse communities we serve. We also recognise the huge impact that effective allies can have in supporting our goals and this Pride month, we’ve launched the SN Pride LGBTQ+ Basics Guide, a document to provide a clear and easily accessible reference for those who wish to understand and learn more about the LGBTQ+ community.
Pride season in particular gives us the chance to recognise and celebrate the progress that has been made and how very different things were less than a lifetime ago. It’s important for us to remember that the reality for LGBTQ+ people is very different around the world and the progress we have made is hard won, but fragile. The rights and security afforded to the LGBTQ+ community in many places are by no means guaranteed and celebrating Pride is an important reminder of the triumphs we’ve made and what we stand to lose if we fail to defend them.
It’s also crucial for us to recognise that many people within the LGBTQ+ community are also faced with discrimination for another aspect of their identity in addition to the homophobia, biphobia or transphobia they experience. With the current spotlight rightly focused on violence towards the Black community, this is more relevant than ever, not least because racism exists within the LGBTQ+ community itself and needs to be actively addressed and because fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color. As a community, we stand together to affirm that Black Lives Matter and within that, Black LGBTQ+ Lives Matter.
We’re currently in the middle of Pride 2020, and we had expected to be marching alongside our LGBTQ+ siblings and allies in a Pride parade for the second time as an employee network to raise awareness of the importance of diversity in science and education. As with many plans, we’ve had to adapt and instead we are marking Pride in ways that bring our community and supporters together from our homes and as part of this, we’ve been taking some time to reflect on why that’s important.
First is the acknowledgement that our responsibility to the LGBTQ+ community extends beyond supporting our colleagues, and we feel we have a role to play in fighting for greater diversity in research and education.
Springer Nature has made its commitment clear, setting a D&I strategy, establishing employee networks to build community support and recently agreeing a set of principles to direct an active role in accelerating progress on equality, diversity and inclusion. To mark Pride month, we’ve published a collection of relevant and recent research into LGBTQ+ topics from across Springer Nature. The aim of this research is to better understand and raise awareness on LGBTQ+ issue that, in the end, might benefit the entire community.
Second is the realisation and acceptance that we know we can’t do it alone. Last year we became Diversity Champions with Stonewall, a UK-based LGBTQ+ charity, to help us take further steps to nurture an inclusive culture at Springer Nature. Stonewall are very clear in their view on the power and necessity of allies to transform workplace cultures and create real social change, and so are we.
Since our launch, we’ve published blog posts internally and externally to share the reality of the diverse LGBTQ+ experiences of our members with all staff and we’ve held events focused on how to be a better ally. This Pride month, we’ve launched the LGBTQ+ Basics Guide, which aims to provide some of the core information about what it means to be LGBTQ+, and how to be an ally to those in the LGBTQ+ community. It includes descriptions of the many sexual and gender identities that fall under the LGBTQ+ umbrella, the difference between sex, sexuality and gender, and tips on how allies can best LGBTQ+ people.
We have decided to share the LGBTQ+ Basics guide externally with the hope that those looking to become better allies in our wider community can take time to learn and we can work together to play a more active role in pushing for diversity in our communities.
This blog post and the LGBTQ+ Basics Guide was created by members of the SN Pride global leadership team, Andrea Monica, Andrew Needham and Lewis Miles, in collaboration with Diversity & Inclusion Manager, Laura Bennett and with support from the wider SN Pride team.