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Celebrating Pride in 2022

Discover the history of Pride month and how Chambers are planning to celebrate.

Published on 30 May 2022
Written by Lee Pechtl

The history of Pride Month

Since the first official Gay Pride march took place in New York more than 50 years ago a lot has happened, and much progress has been made for LGBT+ peoples rights and lives across the world. In 1970, the events first year, homosexual activity was still illegal or had only just been legalised in many countries, including in Europe and North America (many of the earlier pioneers of legalisation were Latin American countries). Equally, homosexuality was still classified as a mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders at the time.

The decades since have not only seen a slow but steady wave of legalisation sweep across the globe, but positive LGBT+ representation in the media has dramatically increased and many states now recognise same-sex civil partnership, marriage and adoption. Some have also implemented partial or extensive anti-discrimination laws. Many workplaces, including Chambers and Partners, additionally offer LGBT+ employees emotional as well as practical support in their everyday lives.

The Stonewall uprising that originally led to the first official Pride march was carried out by a diverse crowd, including gay men, lesbians, drag queens and trans women, many of them Black and People of Colour, who rose up against police violence. These riots and the commemorative marches that followed started shifting the existence of LGBT+ people out of the shadows and into a general awareness in society. They symbolised a proactive agency and a demand for humanisation by a group of people who rarely knew what a life out in the open, where one didn't have to hide one's true self, might feel like.

Where we are today for equality

However, many are still living at the margins today, especially black trans women, who face notoriously high rates of violence and challenges to their lives. Indeed, trans people in general have recently been confronted with an unprecedented amount of targeted public discrimination, not only by right-wing governments but also reactionary courts and justices.

This has notably been demonstrated when a 2020 UK High Court ruling attempted to curtail the right for transgender youth to receive hormone blockers, while trans people of any age were recently excluded from protective legislative proposals that intend to outlaw conversion therapy for LGB people in the UK. Meanwhile, many US states are currently trying to enforce laws that ban trans individuals, especially young people, from participating in sports (competitive or otherwise), using bathroom facilities that match their gender identity, or even accessing trans-specific healthcare.

What has also become clear is that even those whose lives had already moved closer to the mainstream are not safe from the threat of having their rights removed once again; some state legislatures have introduced, or in the case of Florida already implemented, laws that criminalise free discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. And as the US Supreme Court attempt to repeal Roe v. Wade could undermine constitutional rights to privacy more generally, freely living one's sexual orientation may soon come under fire as well.

Additionally, the war in Ukraine has laid bare the risks of being LGBT+ in a country at war: with trans women being forced to stay and fight as men, and an overall fear among LGBT+ people of being invaded by an army that represents a Russian government that has introduced anti-LGBT+ legislation in recent years.
Meanwhile, homosexuality remains illegal in at least 69 countries, many of which are a part of the Commonwealth, and intersex people across the world are still having to fight for laws that would guarantee their bodily autonomy and universally ban medically unnecessary surgeries on their bodies.

A reminder of the work for a more inclusive world

As things stand, it helps to recall the origins of Pride as a way to fight back against discrimination. It also helps to remind us that if the LGBT+ community sticks together, it can overcome almost anything, as it has done during the years before legalisation, the AIDS pandemics in Western countries, and in moving public opinion forward, so much so that countries with large Cathlolic populations historically opposed to LGBT+ rights voted in favour of same-sex marriage in a referendum.

How are Chambers planning to celebrate Pride 2022?

This year, Chambers will look to celebrate Pride as a reminder not only that the LGBT+ community must and will continue to stand up for its rights, but that we have also been known to be amazingly good at celebrating - our lives, our achievements, our perseverance, and the diversity of life in general.

Chambers offers support and join its LGBT+ employees in this celebration and have many internal events taking place over the course of the month which include a transgender and non-binary inclusion training held by our dear friends at Global Butterflies.

This will ensure our ongoing commitment to our trans and non-binary colleagues and that we will be able to support them as best as possible.

Chambers are also holding its first of two bake sales and a Pride party for all staff. To learn more about Chambers Pride month celebrations or for anything D&I related, please contact Luke Vincett.